Monday, April 22, 2024

Majwe Mining in trade reservation busting row

Majwe Mining is suspected to have helped a South African  company to steal a multi million Pula business that is reserved for citizens.

The Majwe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV) a partnership betweenLeighton Botswana, Basil Read Mining Botswana and Bothakga Burrow Botswana recently awarded a South African based auctioneer to auction their mining equipment from the US$ 1,9 billion Debswana Jwaneng Cut-9 end of contract.

The auction is reported to have fetched about P20 million Pula.

The Midrand based company, WH Auctioneers supported by Ritchie Bros, was commissioned by Majwe Mining Joint Venture to auction mining equipment from the end-of-mine contract.

The auction was held on July 8 this year with the only partially citizen-owned company, Auctioneers Botswana, receiving crumbs – a source from one of the citizen-owned companies told Sunday Standard. Auctioneers Botswana apparently was happy with the deal. Auctioneers Botswana’s Graham Phillips was not available for comment.

Ironically, The Trade Act lists “Auctioneer” at the top of the list of  businesses reserved exclusively for citizens of Botswana. Asked for comments Trade Ministry spokesperson Oarabile Phefo told Sunday Standard that, “The Ministry is aware that there are Auctioneer Business Registration Certificates that are in the hands of non-citizens as they obtained them before the reservation of Auctioneers Business Registration Certificate. The Auctioneer activity was reserved through Trade Regulations, 2008 and subsequently Trade Regulations, 2020. However, we are not aware of the Auctioneers who Majwe Mining used in their last auction.”

Finlay Massey, sales director at APAC, Ritchie Bros, confirmed that they had been awarded the business, saying: “The two companies bring unrivalled expertise and experience in their respective fields. This is a live auction in Botswana with online bidding, hosted by WH Auctioneers with the support of Ritchie Bros expertise, marketing efforts and our global database of buyers, which is second-to-none,” ahead of the auction. The auction was conducted in Jwaneng, on July 8 with webcast bidding extended to overseas buyers. In 2019, the Majwe Mining Joint Venture was awarded a A$1.7 billion contract at Debswana Diamond Company’s Jwaneng Mine Cut-9 project. Majwe, a Joint Venture between Thiess (70%) and long-term local partner Bothakga Burrow Botswana (30%), was to provide full scope mining services over nine years, including drill and on-bench services, mine planning, equipment maintenance, load and haul, and mining operations.

In 2021, the contract was terminated by Debswana, with the Cut 9 operation transitioning to an owner-mining operation.

The Trade Act, 2019 and its Regulations, 2020 reserved Auctioneer Business Registration Certificate for citizens or companies wholly owned by citizens.

The Trade Act Section 17 (2) states: The Minister may reserve and make regulations prescribing  that only citizens  or companies wholly owned by citizens shall be entitled to carry  on reserved trade or business. The Trade Regulations  further  compounds this  averment in relation to auctioneers at Regulation 24 (b) wherein it is stated that an auctioneer’s business registration certificate shall be reserved for citizens or for companies wholly owned by citizens.

The Auctioneer activity is regulated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry through the Trade Act, 2019 and Trade Regulations, 2020.  

“Section 17 (3) of the Trade Act, 2019 allows for a joint venture between a non-citizen and a citizen to operate in a reserved activity where the citizen is a majority shareholder (51% or more) in the joint venture,” said Phefo.

On offer at the Majwe auction  were Caterpillar 777D 85,000-litre water trucks, Caterpillar 834H and 854K wheel dozers, Caterpillar D10T tracked dozers, Caterpillar 16M motor graders, a Caterpillar 336DL tracked excavator, Terex TA100 and TA60 rigid dump trucks, Hyster 25 tyre handler, a Komatsu D375-5 tracked dozer, a Caterpillar 966 wheel loader, a Komatsu WA600 loader, Bell B20 articulated dump trucks, Manitou MHT780 and MRT2540 telehandlers, Atlas Copco drill rigs, crushers and screens, Lincoln Electric Vantage 500 welder/generators, and trucks and light delivery vehicles.


Read this week's paper