SELEBI-PHIKWE: Polaris II, a strategy adopted by BCL to transform the company into an internationally recognised mining company has the potential to diversify the economy of mining town of Selebi Phikwe and the region.
Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe praised the move by the copper-nickel miner during a business forum hosted by SPEDU (Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit) last week Friday, saying it will turn the fortunes around.
“I wish to appreciate BCL’s team visionary leadership in the mould of Polaris II strategy,” said Kedikilwe.
“The government of Botswana has also played a critical role in paving the way for the strategy”.
BCL adopted the Polaris II strategy in 2012 in an endeavor to diversify its current operations to an enterprise that offers a wide range of businesses in resources and chemicals industry. The strategy also seeks to increase the life-span of the mine beyond 2020.┬á
Botswana government currently owns a bigger stake of 94 percent shares at BCL mine while Norlisk Nickel owns 6 percent shares.
He said that the government has converted part of BCL’s debt into equity adding that the company tax regime has also been normalised.
“These measures will change the face of BCL Balance Sheet to pave the way for potential joint ventures. Restructured BCL should unleash potential for job creation, economic diversification, beneficiation, sustainable income generating community projects for livelihoods,” he said.
He further commended BCL mine for working hand in hand with SPEDU towards developing the Selibe Phikwe region into an industrial and minerals processing centre. He however said that the path to establishing minerals processing hub is not as smooth as it may appear. He said that more often there are differing emotional levels and numerous other challenges.
“I implore all the parties to exercise patience and tolerance in this journey. We must focus on making the SPEDU region the envy of the world through creation of a business centre that was inconceivable in the past,” he said.
He added that BCL through its Polaris II strategy will enable Selibe Phikwe region to witness the creation of a cluster of large heavy industry projects, leading to a boom in employment and minerals processing centres.
“I am also aware that BCL is about to complete the acquisition of Pula Steel, a company that will utilise scrap metal to produce steel products. This plant will process between 100 to 300 tonnes of steel per a day and will create new jobs for our people,” he said.
BCL General Manager, Daniel Mahupela, who is also the Board Chairman of SPEDU, said before he was appointed Chairperson, he took a deliberate decision to forge cooperation with the SPEDU leadership and to align their strategies.
“Following the adoption of our new corporate strategy, popularly known as Polaris II, it became apparent to me and my teams at BCL that SPEDU and BCL are working towards a common goal that is of preventing this town of Selibe Phikwe from disappearing. On the other hand, SPEDU can benefit from downstream opportunities under the BCL Polaris II strategy,” he said.
Mahupela said that in these times of global economic anxiety, it is imperative that they work together, learn from one another and forge coordinated responses to the challenges in pursuit of their single goal of creating flourishing businesses.
SPEDU held a business forum last week in collaboration with its partners, BOCCIM and BCL to share and discuss their strategies with regard to developments in the Selibe Phikwe region. The other objective of the forum was to promote investment arising out of the different strategies of the three organisations to the business community.