Thursday, October 28, 2021

No new offers for BCL mineÔÇô Kebonang

At the moment the BCL mine has no offers except from an entity called Emirates Investment Holdings (EIH) and another Dubai based company seeking to re-process the BCL slag dump to recover metal values, Parliament has been told.

Addressing parliament this week, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadique Kebonang said that should the mine find no suitable candidate by December 2017, the mine will come to a final liquidation.

Troubled by the plight of his constituents, Selebi-Phikwe West MP Keorapetse posed a string of questions to the Minister, resulting with Kebonang taking a decision to make a statement to respond to his questions instead of answering them individually.

Kebonang told journalists in the capital Gaborone in June 2017 that after the lapse of the exclusivity granted to EIH by the government of Botswana to conduct due diligence, the Provisional Liquidator wrote to all interested Parties that had expressed interest in all or majority of the assets of the BCL group. The deadline for submission of expressions of interest was 12th June 2017. 

On the other hand, Sunday Standard was in late June 2017 furnished with a letter in which the Botswana government was given up to 13 July 2017 to accept or reject a new and final “offer to purchase” of the BCL mine by the Emirates Investment House (EIH).

A confidential letter addressed to the government, through Kebonang from the EIH chairman, Dr Abdulla Mangoosh detailed new conditions under which the Emirates based company will acquire selected assets of the BCL Group. The letter gives the Botswana government a period of 30 days from 13 June 2017 to decide failure of which, “we reserve our rights to rescind this offer”. 

It also instructed the Botswana government to ensure that details of the discussions surround BCL assets remain closely guarded. “There shall be no public information to be provided to the media or other non government related parties without express written consent of EIH. This offer shall remain to be strictly private and confidential upon all parties” 

The EIH offer letter has atleast six new conditions/demands by the Arabs amongst them the need by the Botswana government to undertake and procure any licenses, permits and approvals required by the company to re-start the operations of the BCL Limited mines. 

The letter further state that the new offer is binding upon EIH, with the provisions that a new set of agreements be entered with relevant parties representing the government of Botswana or appointed by the Courts of Botswana. 

At the same time, EIH further demanded that all the assets that it is to be purchased “are to be free from encumbrances whatsoever, contingent and otherwise. All existing liabilities must either be taken under the debt acquisition exercise or to be absorbed by other parties without any recourse to EIH”. 

Another demand by the EIH relates to incidental costs such as “care and maintenance” which under the new offer letter will be borne by the Botswana Government until the sale and purchase agreement entered becomes unconditional.

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