The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale has on Friday told the parliament that the government does not owe anybody apology or clarification on why the BCL mine was closed.
Molale said this when exchanging jabs with some legislators from the opposition amongst them Selebi Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse and Ramotswa MP Samuel Rantuana who engaged in a heated debate with Molale. The MPs were calling on Government to prioritise the re-opening of the mine.
He believes government should not bare any blame for the closure of the mine in 2016 or take the blame for the ailing liquidation of the mine. The Selebi-Phikwe mine was placed under liquidation in October 2016, with Nigel Dixon-Warren, appointed the provisional liquidator.
“I am not going to apologise on behalf of the Government and put the blame of BCL closure on the shoulders of the government. Government has done nothing wrong as some of you from the opposition anticipate. So forget about hearing me apologising to the nation over the closure of the BCL mine shafts,” he added.
Molale said closing the mine in 2016 was not by fault caused by the government, saying the circumstances which the mine was under led to the resolution of closing it.
Minister Molale further took his counterparts head on, saying that there is no slice of hope that the mine may be re-opening soon. He confirmed that the relationship between Government and mine Liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren has turned sour and broken irrevocably.
He, however, could not be drawn into divulging the details that has led to the tense relationship between the two parties.
MP Keorapetse has been putting Molale under pressure, grilling over government’s reluctance in dealing the BCL mine.
Keorapetse has fumed at level of arrogance that Molale has resembled when addressing the BCL issue.
He called on government to at least put the mine under judicial management while looking at ways to make it run on a sustainable basis.
Ramotswa MP Samuel Rantuana accused Molale of failing to show remorse when talking about the BCL mine, challenging him to accept that the government should be blamed for the closure of the mine. He said Molale should explain why the mine’s liquidation process has failed.
Recently the Russian mining giant Nornickel, also known as Norilsk Nickel, pulled out of the legal battle the company and liquidators of BCL over P2.7 billion lucrative deal gone sour which has over the years intensified, with the Russian miner's lawyers questioning the liquidator’s motives and accusing him of wasting precious cash resources.
This matter has now been referred to the London Court of International Arbitration after the Court of Appeal ruled against BCL ordering it to pay the costs of the legal dispute.