Norilsk to sell African nickel stakes to Botswana’s BCL for $337 mln – by Silvia Antonioli (Reuters India – October 20, 2014)

Oct 20 (Reuters) – Russia’s Norilsk Nickel , the world’s top nickel and palladium producer, said it had agreed to sell stakes in two African nickel mines for $337 million to BCL, a Botswana-based copper mining firm looking to expand.

Norilsk will transfer to BCL its 50 percent interest in the Nkomati nickel and chrome mine, in South Africa, and its 85 percent stake in the Tati Nickel Mining Company, in Botswana, the two companies said on Monday.

BCL will also assume all attributable outstanding debt and environmental and rehabilitation liabilities associated with the assets.

Norilsk embarked on a new strategy last year that includes pulling out of international assets that it has identified as non Tier-1 mining operations. Tier-1 is an industry designation for what are typically the biggest and lowest-cost mines.

“The sale of the African operations marks a major milestone in our commitment to deliver the new corporate strategy. The transaction is part of the management’s roadmap to release capital from non-core assets and will have a positive impact on the company’s return on invested capital”, Pavel Fedorov, Norilsk Nickel First Deputy CEO said in a statement.

The deal marks Norilsk Nickel’s full exit from its African holdings and follows earlier disposals of its Australian assets. It still holds assets in Finland.

As part of the deal, BCL will take over from Norilsk Nickel subsidiary Metal Trade Overseas AG (MTO) a commitment to buy the concentrate from the Nkomati operation.

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