The extension of provisional liquidation for Tati Nickel Mine and BCL Investments by the High court on Thursday has fueled to speculation that some investors, among them South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe are eyeing some of the assets. The extension continues until December 15. Through his company, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) the mining magnate is said to be eyeing the BCL smelter in Selibe Phikwe and TNMC Mines, hence the extension to allow investors to conduct due diligence on the assets before making a final decision. On the other hand the piecemeal sale of assets of Selibe-Phikwe based BCL mine was confirmed in a final liquidation order by the High Court on Thursday, after negotiations for a wholesale transaction with Emirates Investment House Company (EIH) collapsed. The liquidation order gives creditors the green light to auction BCL mine assets separately, which include the smelter and the mine shafts, to the highest bidder. Unless a miracle happens, assets of BCL mine will be stripped and sold in pieces to the highest bidder in a few months, following two creditors meetings.
Through POLARIS II strategy BCL had just started rolling out plans to diversify and expand to become a regional mining force, when copper prices plummeted leading to the collapse of the mine. Government- 100% shareholder at BCL mine-closed the mine and placed it under provisional liquidation in October 2016, saying she cannot afford the P7 billion needed to keep the company running. BCL had bought 85% shares of Norilsk Nickel at Tati Nickel Mining Company, making them 100% shareholders at the mine through BCL Enterprises. BCL also bought 50% Norilsk Nickel shares at Nkomati Mine in South Africa and were yet to complete the transaction, which would have paved way for concentrates from that mine to be treated at the BCL smelter in Selibe Phikwe. Sources close to the developments opine that Motsepe will probably get the Nkomati Stake, which they turned down in the past due to subdued market, for rock bottom prices. Other sources said Nijel Dixon-Warren of KMPG was never the right man to be appointed liquidator as he never believed the mine could be saved from the onset. Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security failed.