Botswana copper production resumes

By Mpho Tebele

Gaborone-Production in copper-nickel mining subsector that came to a standstill following the collapse of three miners in the last two years is expected to resume this year.

Copper producer Boseto Mine that was acquired by Khoemacau (Copper Mining) following liquidation in 2015 will resume production this year. Mowana Copper Mine which was also placed under liquidation the same year has since been acquired by a South African firm, PenMin Holdings, operating as Leboam will also résumé production.

The reopening of the two mines come on the heels of the liquidation of the oldest and copper mine in the country BCL last year. The mine remains under care and maintenance and this month (February) the High Court will decide whether to finally liquidate the mine or not.

BCL liquidator Dickson Warren recently revealed that the mine is fatally involvement and recommended that it should be liquidated. Some of the more than 7000 employees who lost their jobs when BCL was placed under liquidation are expected to find jobs when the two mines resume operations.

In his late last year, President Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the liquidation of BCL stopped national copper production since the Mowana and Boseto mines were mothballed in 2015.

“Copper and nickel prices have remained depressed throughout 2016. The downturn put BCL and (subsidiary) Tati Nickel Mining Company under severe financial constraints, leading to our decision to place the BCL group under provisional liquidation in October 2016 due to non-profitability,” Khama said.

Mineral Resources Minister Sadique Kebonang said the government could not afford the cost of about 7.6 billion pula ($713 million) needed to keep the state-owned firm running.

February 2017
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