Tuesday, December 7, 2021

BCL reopening could boost Phikwe businesses

With the fate of the mothballed BCL mine now almost sealed, its anticipated reopening is expected to help boost both medium and small enterprises in the host town of Selebi-Phikwe.

Selebi-Phikwe town mayor Lucas Modimana said the council leadership is already working on a series of policies to ensure that small businesses in the town benefit.

He stated that the town council has intensified efforts of documenting all existing businesses, adding that this will allow the two parties being BCL operators and the council to help local businesses easily.

Modimana further said although all existing businesses in the town stand to benefit from the BCL operations, the council plan has always been to encourage young people to venture into green businesses.

“It now calls for us to go out there and hold campaigns to encourage our locals in Phikwe to have businesses that have green aspect in it because we do not have many green businesses here. Currently with what the BCL chosen operator is bringing, it will be hard for us to say that we have businesses that are ready to go into business with the company,” added Modimana.

He said the anticipated reopening of the mine has sparked excitement in the town, adding that when the mine closed in 2016 most businesses collapsed.

“We are going to start seeing an influx of businesses setting up in Phikwe and some obviously working with PNR and that will expand the existing market that we have,” said Modimana.

The mayor also said the current exercise of profiling the district will also afford them an opportunity to help some businesses to expand their operations.

“We intend to also ensure that we encourage some of these existing businesses to diversify their product and service offering because we want all businesses to play a part in the resuscitation of the town,” added Modimana.

He said over the last decades the town has been heavily reliant on BCL.

PNR was awarded an exclusive right to undertake six months of due diligence on BCL, placed under liquidation in 2016, in February.

BCL liquidator Trevor Glaum said in February that, subject to a feasibility study, PNR will start construction and commissioning of mining infrastructure to prepare for operating, with investment expected to top $400 million.

At its peak, BCL Mine produced an average of 40,000 tonnes of copper and nickel annually before high operating costs and low international commodity prices prompted its liquidation in 2016.

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