Local court to decide Norilsk claim on BCL – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – September 11, 2018)


Russia’s largest mining company in mineral rights dispute with Botswana group and liquidation leader

The success of Norilsk Nickel’s $277m claim against Botswana’s BCL miner and refiner, which is in liquidation, will be decided in an SA court that must find on the merits of a mining right awarded to BCL.

In an acrimonious dispute in which Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company and a leading source of palladium, has tried to shred the reputation of Botswana as Africa’s most highly regarded mining destination, there has been a standoff between the Russian company and Nigel Warren-Dixon of KPMG Botswana, who is leading the BCL liquidation.

In 2014 Norilsk struck deals with BCL to sell its 85% stake in Tati nickel mine in Botswana and its 50% stake in SA’s Nkomati Nickel to the state-run nickel producer for $337m. The price was later dropped to $277m.

Norilsk is chaired by Gareth Penny, the former CEO of De Beers, who knows the SA regulatory environment well. Norilsk suffered a setback when the Botswana High Court ruled that it had overstepped the mark by starting an international arbitration process to recover the $277m it said it was owed by BCL and its funder, the Botswana government.

BCL and the government have not paid Norilsk and the latest battleground is an SA court where Warren-Dixon argues that the director-general of the department of mineral resources had not properly applied his mind in agreeing to the transfer of mining rights to BCL’s wholly owned subsidiary, BCL Investments, from Norilsk because of the Botswana company’s parlous finances.

For the rest of this article: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/mining/2018-09-11-local-court-to-decide-norilsk-claim-on-bcl/

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