Botswana names preferred bidder for shuttered copper miner, BCL Limited

CANADIAN mining investment company, Premium Nickel Resources Corporation, has been named preferred bidder for BCL Ltd, a shuttered copper producer owned by the Botswana government, said Bloomberg News citing Mmetla Masire, the permanent secretary for Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.

Nickel Resources had six months to conduct a due diligence before making an offer for the company, said the newswire.

Premium Nickel is seeking $26.5m 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, said Bloomberg News.

Botswana has been identified as a new copper mining district following project work on two mines that are due to open in the coming years.

“This is, in effect, the dawn of a new global copper province,” said Karl Simich, MD and CEO of Sandfire Resources following the publication of the firm’s definitive feasibility study into its $259m, 30,000 tons a year Motheo copper project.

Khoemacau Copper Project, which is backed by US private equity firm Cupric Canyon, is developing a 60,000 tons a year copper project in an area that runs north east to the south west in a band across northern Botswana, known as the ‘Kalahari Copper Belt’. About $550m was raised in 2019 for the development of the Khoemacau Project.