The Managing Director of the embattled BCL Mine Dan Mahupela has stood firm, insisting that he will not step down from his position as he has demonstrated his leadership acumen. Mahupela said in an interview he is not to blame for the current problems facing the mine, attributing such to market forces like the lacklustre demand for commodities in 2015. “We had developed a strategic plan on how to make the mine operations float with the advice from our financial advisers Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and at that time the prices of copper and nickel was at US$ 9/Ib,” said the calm and seemingly upbeat BCL MD. However when updating Parliament in February this year, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila said that BCL management was too slow to turn around the fortunes by cutting on the operational costs. At the time he was thinking of either firing the whole Exco and or bringing in a consultant to help run the mine. He has so far not exercised these options, choosing instead to have Government guarantee a P1 billion loan for BCL with Barclays Bank.
In reaction to the comment, Mahupela refused to comment on what the minister said, maintaining that as far as he is concerned they have done well in cutting costs. Driving his point home, the defiant graduate of Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Mahupela pointed out that as part of cost saving measures they have managed to save P144 million in 2015. “Optimised BCL business plan has reduced operating costs by a further P122 million,” said the holder of BSc. Mining Engineering, Mining and Mineral Engineering. But in a clear sign of shareholder frustration with the leadership of the copper mining company, Minister Mokaila informed parliament that he still wonders why BCL still owns an expensive jet while the mining industry is not doing well. Mahupela , who has been at the helm of BCL for over six years now, said as part of disposal of assets they are going to sell the aircraft and BCL houses including those at Tati Nickel Mine in Francistown in order to realise value and unlock capital. The total value of the assets to be disposed of, according to Mahupela, is P536 million.