Botswana: Tati Nickel Consults With Local Businessesadmin
The Francistown business community has called on Tati Nickel Mine to introduce a system where companies will be categorised accordingly when awarding tenders.
They said this on Wednesday during a consultation meeting Tati Nickel organised to brief local businesses on their new policy of how to procure for tenders awarded from the mine.
Even though the mine welcomed the suggestion, they maintained that they would analyse companies and give preference to those that already have a good track record and will provide the service or goods in a given timeframe.
“We have to manage risk, which means we have to go for a company that has been there. People have to understand that we are an independent company, so we will set our own procedures, taking into consideration our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Tati Nickel compliance manager Peter Brandmuller.
The audience complained to the mine officials that for instance, when companies – irrespective of how small or big – bid for a multi million Pula tender it is obvious a more established company will be awarded the tender.
Brandmullar further said that the purpose of the consultation was to start compiling a database of all companies willing to do business with Tati Nickel and after this they could look into the suggestion of classification of companies and tenders.
The consultation comes a month after local businesses had complained to Francistown Legislators Phandu Skelemani, Khumongwana Maoto and Tsheleng Masisi that the mine overlooks them when awarding tenders. The mine said in the past two months, they have redrafted their purchasing policy to further promote, maintain and include local businesses.
Tati Nickel currently has up to 1,042 suppliers with only 40 percent of them being local suppliers, who however include businesses operating from Botswana even if they are not locally owned and agents who are based in the country but working on behalf of external companies.
The mine also introduced their corporate social responsibility policy, which will ensure opportunities are afforded to local entrepreneurs. Public and Corporate Manager of Tati Nickel Thuso Dikgaka says the policy will benefit small businesses which are in the 50km radius from the mine, and are willing to employ, where possible, labour from within the area.
The mine has allocated a budget of P5 million a year towards the corporate social responsibility to assist and also have joint ventures with small businesses from villages around the mine. The Activox refinery at Tati Nickel has also brought much excitement in the mining industry, a factor that the mine officials say has contributed towards them changing their policy to include local businesses.
Brandmullar notes that more consultations like the one they had will be organised to inform local businesses on how to better position themselves to benefit from the US$ 620 million Activox refinery, which is still being, constructed.
Activox refinery process is a proprietary hydrometallurgical process by LionOre that treats a wide variety of metal sulphide concentrates into end products. Activox is the same process that pure nickel and copper metals are produced to make them ready for the market.