FRANCISTOWN: Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) new general manager Sebetlela Sebetlela has lamented the fall in metal prices on the world market, saying it is a huge challenge for the mining industry.
Addressing his first external stakeholders' breakfast meeting at the TNMC Club House at the Molapo Estate last Friday, Sebetlela said: " We meet at a very difficult time when the nickel metal prices have plummeted by almost a half from a former promising USD 20,000 per tonne some time last year."
His audience included industry captains, commercial bank chiefs, and senior government officials.
Sebetlela told the meeting that "at the mine we are looking at the immediate measures to employ in an endeavour to rise above the water". He, however, pointed out that there were "no guarantees that we will survive."
In their attempt to cope, he indicated that every intervention will be very important. "I can't even try to explain what we will be doing in the immediate period but we will be doing something to swim out of the troubled spot."
On the social front, he acknowledged that it was important for stakeholders to know one another.
"This is not the best of the times, but at different times we will have time to sit down and talk.
"Well, I know that TNMC would like to change or uplift the
He further acknowledged that for any company to succeed, it has to pay special attention to the community where it does business.
Sebetlela joins TNMC after about 30 years of continuous service at the diamond-mining giant, Debswana where he rose through the ranks and left as general manager for the Debswana, Orapa and Letlhakane mines.
He is the fifth TNMC general manager, since the mine commenced operations in 1988 and becomes the first Motswana at the helm. His predecessors include Brian Hyde, Chris Fredericks, Eden Swanepoel, and Piet Kotze.
When introducing Sebetlela earlier on, TNMC divisional manager (organisational capability) Peter Meswele described their new boss as a "fine catch".
"Some of his notable achievements include his reputation in the area of safety, health and environment which are very crucial in any mining operation.
He continuously produced good results whilst at Jwaneng and Orapa and Letlhakane mines."
Meswele also credited his boss for achieving much in terms of optimisation and technological efficiencies at the mines.
"There is a lot that he brings with him here," said Meswele.