BCL liquidation bill tops P1.6bn

Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, Sadique Kebonang
Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, Sadique Kebonang

Government has so far spent P1.2 billion towards to cover costs for liquidation of BCL Mine and plans to spend another P430 million in the next financial year, Parliament was told this week.

The P1.6 billion bill includes the cost of the ongoing care and maintenance of the mine, terminal benefits for former workers as well as the liquidator’s expenses.

Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, Sadique Kebonang said on Monday that for the period October 2016 to February 2018 government has committed P1.2 billion towards the cost of the liquidation process.

A further P430 million has been budgeted for the financial year March 2018 to March 2019.

Kebonang was answering a question in Parliament from Gaborone North MP, Haskins Nkaigwa who wanted to know how much government has spent on the liquidation process and when the exercise was likely to be concluded.

“The liquidation process would likely be concluded within three to five years considering the complexity of the environmental and legal issues,” Kebonang said.

BCL Liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren told Mmegi Business yesterday that the liquidation costs also include the pre-liquidation expenses such as power and water bills which he was required by law to settle.

From October 2016 to August 2017, pre-liquidation liabilities that had been settled amounted to P481 million while P268 million had been spent on care and maintenance of  both the Tati Nickel and BCL mines.

The liquidator however said the funds provided by government are only an advance to the liquidator, and will be paid back before any other creditors when the process is finalised.

Dixon-Warren said he was also exploring ways of bringing down the care and maintenance costs as well as avenues to enhancing BCL’s value.

“I am working on a new plan for care and maintenance to try and minimise the ongoing costs and also undertake a few projects to improve the value of BCL so that we can generate more interest in the future when prices of copper and nickel improve,” he said. 

In his report to creditors, Dixon-Warren said the winding up of BCL will not be done quickly and it is likely to cost a significant amount of money.

“It is not yet clear what, if anything, will be available for distribution to creditors. There is a risk that proved creditors will be liable for a contribution towards the costs of administration,” he said.

It is estimated that the creditors bill will end up as high as P3 billion when all claims have been proven.

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