Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) recently invited Francistown investors to a meeting at which it unveiled its purchasing and corporate social responsibility policy where TCM made a commitment to support local businesses and improve the economy of the city and Botswana as a whole. In his opening remarks at the presentation Corporate Communications and Public Relations Manager Thuso Dikgaka said the move was meant to reiterate the commitment of the mine to enabling the local business community to benefit from its operations and to add value to the economy of Botswana.
Compliance Manager Peter Brandmuller said that the mine has a purchasing policy that is aimed at removing the power of decision making from a few individuals to a standard committee that is made up of divisional managers of the mine. He said that the principles of the purchasing policy are primarily aimed at maintaining the financial viability and profitability of the mine while at the same time promoting and empowering the local business community. “There are rules and regulations that are in place to ensure proper ethical practices so as to avoid conflict of interest whereby tenders are unfairly awarded to family and friends of members of staff” he said.
Brandmuller also said that the mine frowns upon receipt of gifts by members of staff adding that such gifts must be presented to management before they can be accepted.
He said that companies that want to be listed with the mine should contact the Materials Manager or the Chief Buyer and provide their company profile, company registration and shareholder details. “The purpose of this requirement is to give the mine an idea of the company’s capability to handle big contracts and also to show proof of local ownership” he said. Revealing the company’s expenditure structure Brandmuller said that 18% of their goods are purchased internationally. He said that such goods are usually high technology goods that are purchased from the manufacturer and cannot be sourced locally.
40 % of the goods are purchased from Lion Ore International suppliers in South Africa while the other 40% are sourced locally. “The objective is to increase the stake of the local businesses in our operations, especially those companies that are within a 50km radius of the mine” he said. Brandmuller also revealed Tati Nickel’s cell number, landline and e-mail address which can be anonymously contacted if one has a complaint about the operations of the mine or its members of staff.
Tati Nickel Mining Company is a joint venture between Botswana government, which owns 15% and Lion Ore International which owns 85%. Brandmuller said that as a subsidiary of Lion Ore International which is listed in Toronto they are forced to comply with the trade regulations of that country among them regulation B198 which encourages good governance and ethical business practices. Dikgaka said that Tati Nickel’s social responsibility campaign was aimed at improving and sustaining the livelihoods of the communities within which they have been operating with a view to doing business with them in future. Dikgaka said that they have already engaged a consultant to identify small businesses within a 50 km radius of the mine so that they can assist them to grow and be sustainable and also impart business skills to the owners. He also said that preference will be given to small businesses in rural areas so that they can be sustainable and compete evenly with other businesses that are seeking businesses from the mine.
“We have a P5 million budget for this year to push this campaign and we hope to improve the lives of a lot of Batswana” he said. The meeting was attended by a lot of business representatives from Francistown and its surrounding areas.