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BCL looks to import nickel concentrates

ONALENNA KELEBEILE
Daniel Mahupela
SELEBI-PHIKWE: The managing director of BCL, Daniel Mahupela says following the acquisition of Tati Nickel they are now looking at securing nickel concentrates from outside the country for smelting at the recently rebuilt plant.

Speaking at a ceremony to honour long-serving workers and retirees, Mahupela said BCL is now eyeing to penetrate the market in Sub-Saharan Africa to ensure a sustained life of the mine and the livelihoods of the people.

“We are cementing long-term contracts to ensure that nickel concentrates in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to flow into Selebi-Phikwe to ensure sustained livelihoods into the next decade,” he said.

Now that the BCL smelter rebuild is complete, albeit outside the target date due to a cocktail of challenges, the mine is now working towards production targets in terms of metal tonnage against the plummeting commodity prices.

Nickel prices are currently at $4 per pound against the projections of $8. He added they are continuing to tirelessly look at the other pillars of the Polaris II strategy to ensure that BCL is a diversified enterprise that is capable of weathering the economic storms.

For his part, former vice president Ponatshego Kedikilwe congratulated BCL  for managing to keep afloat in difficult times that were compounded by the prolonged smelter rebuild.  He urged the mine to continue working hard towards the long-term dream enshrined in the Polaris II strategy.

He also commended the mine for carrying on with the tradition of rewarding long-serving and retiring employees even when

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it is faced with immense cashflow difficulties.

“Trends indicated that there have been challenges due to a number of reasons linked to the lacklustre demand for commodities leading to a record low process of minerals in 2015,” he added. Kedikilwe said for many years BCL had operated under difficult conditions of low ore grade, increasing production costs and unstable metal prices and said this obviously created uncertainties that affected employees and persuaded some to choose different careers.

He added the long service and retirees’ award ceremony offers a platform for BCL to demonstrate appreciation for the loyalty and the contribution of its employees.

 About 103 employees were recognised for serving 20 uninterrupted years at BCL while nine were honoured for serving a continuous 40 years while 94 reached their retirement age.

“Organisations that remain vital show their employees that they are needed and at the same time they never forget the value of their long-service employees,” he added.

He also said a relationship of trust between employer and employees is one that eludes many organisations and its absence often leads to strikes on things that outsiders deem simple to sort out.

“We are indebted to the BCL family in the way they handled any work problems they had,” he noted.



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