* Company will not own any houses * Locals to provide mine employees with transport * Long BCL liquidation process affects PNR operations

The new Selibe mine owners, Premium Nickel Resource Botswana (PNRB) have taken a bold decision not to own company houses in order to create wealth for the greater Selibe Phikwe residents, Botswana Guardian has been told.

The Chief Executive Officer, Montwedi Mphathi told this publication that PNRB is not going to own any houses because “we believe that the best way is to create wealth for the local people”.

The previous mine owner, BCL, owned all the houses and therefore when the mine closed, the houses remained vacant without tenants.

Mphathi's view is that if people owned the houses, the wealth would have belonged to the people, and over a period of time, they would have invested and re-invested in housing.

“We would like our employees to own houses or to rent from others who had invested,” Mphathi said.

Similarly, the mine will not own the hospital. "We did not want to own the hospital. But we expect that those who know how to run hospitals (will) and provide the service to us for a fee," he added.

The mine also owned buses that transported workers, workshops and repair workshops, among other things but later on cut back on some of their investments and supported private industries.

"What we want to do is concentrate on the mines with private industries supplying non-core services," Mphathi said. Asked how the BCL liquidation process is affecting them, Mphathi said they have to separate the services as previously services were coming from the Phikwe side to the Selibe satellite mines, which now have to be disconnected.

For example, direct customers for service providers like Water Utilities Corporation and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).

“There was water that was being pumped from Selibe and Selibe north to Phikwe where it was treated and discharged. We will have to find a way of treating that water and discharging it into the environment," he said.

Mphathi said PNR would be investing an enormous amount of money to bring the best technology and personnel to Selibe Phikwe.

“We want the mine to produce at the cost of the production that is long enough and is not going to be affected by the metal prize circles where it is likely to shut down when the prices are low”.

He explained that previously, the mines were getting deeper and more expensive and also the productivity was getting low because of the incremental nature of the projects.