Prospective employment seekers casting eyes towards the reopening of BCL Mine will have to wait for another two to three years before job opportunities are available.
New owners of the BCL Mine, Premium Nickel Resources Botswana ( PNR), and a wholly- owned subsidiary of Premium Nickel Resources Canada said the delay is due to ongoing prospecting activities at the mine, five years after the operations seized and the company put into provisional liquidation.
“The first step is to establish, the remaining resource before planning and developing the best mine. At this time we cannot have the number of people to be employed,” said PNR Managing Director, Montwedi Mphathi, this week, addressing delegates at the Green Energy Seminar in Gaborone.
BCL mine’s closure resulted in more than 4500 people losing their jobs and new hope for the revival of the Selibe Phikwe town is being pinned on the reopening of the mine, though government has made efforts to lure investors to the town through SPEDU, an investment promotion company owned by the government tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification in Selibe Phikwe and surrounding villages.
Mphathi revealed that the company is prospecting on almost two kilometres of its property, though it continues to pump out water from the mine’s existing infrastructure to avoid flooding.
“We need to understand the resource before planning the development of the mine, to remain profitable,” said Mphathi.
Though expectation is for BCL Mine to reach or surpass its past employment figures, PNR has already announced plans to disinvest from noncore infrastructure, once operational.
“PNR will not own houses, hospital and schools, to allow management to focus on core business, while other entities carry out other support businesses. Local ownership of non- core infrastructure will help the economy of the town to be diversified,” said Mphathi.
According to Mphathi, PNR’s blueprint dubbed ‘ Tsholofelo’ is expected to redevelop the former BCL assets into a modern, environmentally sensitive.
“We must not create problems for the future generations, hence we have defined our legacy before we start redeveloping,” said Mphathi citing that the new mine will use less power and water.
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