BY PORTIA NKANI
When it comes to money wastage, the now closed BCL Limited mine and Ipelegeng social programme are birds of the same feather. This is according to the Vice President ÔÇô Slumber Tsogwane who is also Member of Parliament for Boteti West.
Tsogwane was on Friday debating a motion calling for the reopening of the BCL Limited mine by the Selebi Phikwe West MP ÔÇô Dithapelo Keorapetse said that BCL has been making a streak of losses since establishment.
“Before we closed BCL, we said since inception it has been making loses. Closing BCL was the correct decision at the correct time. BCL is just a waste like Ipelegeng. We kept pumping in money like we do with Ipelegeng,”, Tsogwane said.
When presenting the motion Keorapetse proposed that the government facilitate as a matter of priority the reopening of BCL mine through cost sharing of environmental rehabilitation liability and extending incentives to investors interested in buying and running the mine.
“I have explained that the government was misguided by a certain Paul Smith, former CEO of MDCB, who had no clue about BCL. In his letter to Creditors dated 18th February 2018, the liquidator of BCL stated that he has not been successful in his targets to dispose BCL asset, citing following reasons: Quantum of rehabilitation obligation; age and state of infrastructure; metal prices and BCL’s poor reputation in global markets.
Keorapetse argued that prices for the key metals in BCL’s revenue basket have recovered impressively from the levels experienced in the lead up to the closure of the mine.
He said this is because of the advent of electric and hybrid cars, construction boom in China and other demands elsewhere. Prices of Nickel and Copper he said have improved 50percent on the levels they were a month before BCL provisional liquidation. The long term consensus forecast prices are also robust enough to accommodate reasonable profitability to an operator of BCL.
Meanwhile Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources -Eric Molale argued that closing the BCL and Tati mines was not a mistake nor an accident.
He said that the closure have an opportunity to the private sector to take over.
“The private sector has come forth to show interest and I had referred them to the liquidator. The current copper prices are good. The emphasis is that the closure was on account that the mine could no longer run at a profit and we wanted to give it to the private sector. We have delineated assets from liabilities, so that investors when they come they don’t take over with the liabilities,” Molale told Parliament.