Botswana has been named the most attractive investment destination in Africa, according to the latest Africa Investment index for 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm. In the global rankings, Botswana is ranked position 71 out of 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business rankings that was released late last year.
But the liquidation of BCL – the Botswana state-owned mining company would significantly change in 2017 in a negative prospect for Botswana country.
The Botswana government moved quickly to liquidate the BCL mine in October 2016. It seems that this move came to avoid litigation by Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting companyNorilsk Nickel. Speaking in January 2017, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, SadiqueKebonang was surprisingly blunt: “We were at war and we had to move at night to execute our strategy.We withheld this information because we did not want it reaching Norilsk Nickel before the execution of our plan.”
Kebonang continues: “They threatened to sue us and liquidate the mine. We were not going to allow our mine to be liquidated by Russians and watch them as they strip it bare and leave our people with nothing.Had they managed to do that, the mine employees would not be staying in the mine houses, they would have sold everything and stripped BCL and Tati mine bare.”
Botswana Minister of Mineral Resources also disputed that there were further concessions on the table, accusing Norilsk of trying to back the government into a corner to buy the Nkomati mine for US$271.3m, despite its value dwindling to approximately a third of that amount.
He also claimed that the government didn’t have the money to pay for the Nkomati mine, and revealed that US$67m had been secured for the payment of terminal benefits to the 5,000 who lost their jobs. “Every single employee will receive their benefits.”