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Not End Of The World For Phikwe

MONITOR EDITOR
News of the impending closure of the BCL mine in Selebi-Phikwe ought not to leave anyone, especially the peoples of the area despondent.

BCL mine’s closure has been in the offing for the last decade or so. In fact under normal circumstances, the mine could have closed much earlier, when evidence of low grade minerals became clear, but it was the considerate heart of government that has seen the mine operate far beyond its life span of 25 years. Indeed of recent, there had been other seemingly tangible initiatives that were targeted at further increasing the life span of BCL as a processor of metals for the region, through the likes of Pula Steel, as well as a processing plant that was to be established by BCL in Phikwe. According to cabinet reasoning, BCL mine had now become an unprofitable entity as a mine, as it had run out of valuable minerals to sustain the mine. The mathematics being thrown about indicate that more than eight billion Pula would have been needed to pump into the BCL just for it to run, while chances of the mine to make profit are non-existent as the cost of mining had reached unsustainable levels. However reacting with anger and disgust, while it may be the simplest thing to do, is surely not the wisest. The

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eight billion needed at BCL to sustain the jobs of 5,000 miners and the town of Selebi-Phikwe had to be weighed against other national priorities. People of the Phikwe region need not to be hopeless as a result of the closure of the mine. Phikwe has developed in terms of infrastructure today, all thanks to the BCL. This infrastructure, hospitals, road networks, rail, electricity, water, the town council services, as well as the physical developments in Phikwe such as warehouses, accommodation, can be used as launching pads to kick-start a new Phikwe that is not based on mining. Perhaps Phikwe can now have its own abattoirs, processing meat, poultry, pork, and many more for public schools and exporting to nearby South Africa, Zimbabwe. Phikwe can also position itself as the new provider and processor of all kinds of fruits and vegetables due in part to its proximity to Letsibogo It also has good soils, just to name a few, without sounding to be prescribing the town’s options. What is clear however is that the weekend episode calls for everyone associated with Phikwe to rise and not to always seek answers from the government of the day.



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