Nigel Dixon-Warren, the Provisional Liquidator says the fate of BCL Ltd, BCL (Pty) Ltd and Tati Nickel Mining Company (Pty) Ltd mines has yet to be decided.
Dixon-Warren was speaking to the media in Selibe Phikwe on Tuesday. Making the disclaimer upfront that his scope of responsibility did not include the holding of press briefings, he noted however, that he had to do it due to the circulation of “inaccurate and misleading” information about the role of the Provisional Liquidator and future of BCL mines. Warren explained that, his job right now is to do everything possible to ensure that there is order in the whole liquidation process by looking after the assets and providing order and maintenance. “The main objective of care and maintenance is to maintain and safeguard the assets. This includes keeping the mines free from water which accumulates underground as a result of normal operations,” said Dixon-Warren.
He quashed the rumour that operations will start in the next few months. “There is no intention to restart operations in the next few months, either after 7th February 2017 or after the first meeting of creditors as the companies are insolvent and there are no resources available to finance operations,” he explained.February 7th is the date when the High Court will decide if the companies should be placed in final liquidation. He said it would have to be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the court that the companies were not insolvent if the high court is to dismiss the winding up petition and not to grant the final liquidation.
“Based on my assessment, all three companies are fatally insolvent. Therefore, in my view, it is in the best interest of all the creditors that the companies be finally wound up and the liquidation process followed to its conclusion,” said the Liquidator.
There is provision however that, any interested party may apply to the court to not grant the order finally winding up the companies. “The court can decide to extend the provisional liquidation period and delay the final winding up order if it believes it necessary,” explained Dickson-Warren, adding that part of the process is to hold a meeting of the creditors where the creditors can prove their claims against the companies so that they can ultimately receive payment.
However, not all is doom and gloom because there has been interest in the assets of the three companies from several parties including those wanting to restart mining operations. “I hope there will continue to be offers. The interest has been in some or all of the assets and has been from local and overseas parties,” said Dixon-Warren adding that he has met with several parties and corresponded with others. He hopes that there will be offers to buy the mine itself and not just the assets. Dixon-Warren said that of the more than 6000 workers who lost jobs at the three mines, the clear majority of them have been paid their terminal benefits leaving only about 180 who are yet to receive their benefits.