At least 22 creditors of Lerala Mine have submitted claims to the collapsed diamond mine, amounting to P359 million, provisional liquidator has revealed.
Responding to Mmegi Business enquiries, the liquidator Kopanang Thekiso said out of this number, two were rejected and one partially proven and accepted, while the remaining 19 were accepted.
“There is also a claim from employees for salaries and terminal benefits,” he said.
He noted that there are 148 former employees of the mine with payroll arrears and terminal benefits of P8.93 million, which he said still needs to be verified in detail.
Thekiso said all the claims are part of the P615 million, which are the company’s total liabilities. He noted that more claims are likely to come forth.
Meanwhile, he said currently there are no activities going on at the mine except security, adding that care and maintenance of the plant will commence once funds have been raised to carry it out.
He said there is a stash of 3,800 carats of rough diamonds that is being kept for the mine by Brinks Global Services pending decision by creditors authorising the liquidator to dispose them.
“We have started discussions with potential investors, but I cannot at this stage divulge any further details,” Thekiso said.
He also indicated that the Master of the High Court, who oversees the liquidation process, adjourned the first meeting of creditors in order for the main creditor of the estate Mantle Diamonds Limited’s attorneys, Minchin and Kelly, to go and consult their client on the proposed resolutions of empowering the liquidator.
“The master promised to revert back to creditors on the continuation of the adjourned meeting within two weeks. The final liquidator was confirmed as myself at the same meeting,” Thekiso said.
In a recent report to the creditors, Thekiso had said that at the time of taking over the estate, there was only P43,000 in the bank account, adding that the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) then paid a refund of P2.2 million which has been used to keep the mine secure and insured.
He said currently, the balance is just over P748,000, noting that other current assets include consumables and inventory diamonds.
He said there is also a stockpile of ore and capitalised tailings.