Botswana names Canadian firm as preferred bidder for copper mine

The closure of BCL’s mines has become a political sore point for President Mokgweetsi Masisi, pictured here. (Image by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Wikimedia Commons)

Botswana picked Premium Nickel Resources Corp. as the preferred bidder for its shuttered copper mining group BCL Ltd., according to Mmetla Masire, the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.

The privately-owned Canadian minerals investor has six months to conduct due diligence before making an offer for the state-owned miner, Trevor Glaum, BCL’s liquidator, said in a Feb. 11 memorandum to remaining workers at the group. Glaum couldn’t be reached for comment on the memo.

Premium Nickel is seeking $26.5 million of financing to be used for its due-diligence process, according to a January presentation on the website of North American Nickel Inc., the Vancouver-based founder shareholder of Premium Nickel.

BCL went into liquidation in October 2016 due to high operational costs and low base metal prices. Its mines employed more than 5,000 workers at the time of their closing and have become a political sore point for President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration.

(By Mbongeni Mguni, with assistance from Roxanne Henderson)

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