SELEBI-PHIKWE: BCL Mine General Manager (GM) Daniel Mahupela has said that they are in a celebratory mood after the aggregation of nickel beneficiation in Botswana, following the agreement with Norilsk Nickel to acquire its assets in Africa.
Speaking during a retirees and long service awards ceremony held last Friday, Mahupela said through this transaction, his company is pairing the best nickel resource in Southern Africa with the best nickel smelter in Africa.
He added that the acquisition of Tati Nickel and Nkomati Mines is a major transaction of BCL’s business strategy and represents a major milestone.
He said this is because it (the acquisition) enables BCL an opportunity to attract more concentrate to the smelter to enhance the capacity utilisation of the asset and deliver substantial value to the company including the extension of business life beyond 2020.
Last month, BCL Limited entered a $337million (P3.1 billion) deal to buy significant stakes in Tati Nickel Mining Company and Nkomati Mine in South Africa, from Russia’s Norilsk Nickel Company.
Mahupela said the assets (Tati Nickel and Nkomati) are well managed, highly cash generative and have large reserve base and top-tier partners in African Rainbow Minerals Limited. He added that the 98 retired mine employees, 88 of whom have worked for the mine for 20 years, and the five who received 40-year service awards is a celebration of the commitment, dedication and hard work they devoted to the company.
“Each one of them has created his footprint that is distinctive from the rest. “They are pacesetters in their own right and we are proud of their loyalty and acknowledge their contribution,” he said.
For her part, former speaker of the national assembly Dr Margaret Nasha said retirees deserve respect as they diligently worked for the company and persevered even when the future of the mine looked uncertain due to depleted ore and unpredictable mineral prices.
“Working under such circumstances as breadwinners was undoubtedly an unhealthy undertaking but they endured nonetheless. “We also have to thank them because they have accumulated enormous experience during their period of work and their expertise is of great importance to the mine,” she added.
Dr. Nasha also congratulated the good industrial relations prevailing between BCL and Botswana Mine Workers Union BMWU). She said while other mines are embroiled in bitter wrangles with their unions the good relations at BCL shows that there is proper consultation and compromise for the parties to reach a common ground. “Let us protect our country and ensure that peace and tranquility continue to prevail even when we have left,” she noted. She also thanked the union and the mine for the constructive manner in handling work-related issues and for the mine to explore beyond the borders.
She called on workers to guard against those who derail them and incite them to participate in actions that can compel the company to dismiss them from work.