- Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources has regretted its decision to suspend the construction of the Activox plant, admitting that the "uneasy" and "painful decision" was reached after intense scrutiny by shareholders, Botswana Metals Refinery (BMR) and Norlisk.
The government said the project's suspension has been necessitated by its non-commercial viability due to soaring prices of construction materials. As a result, its forecast capital soared to unprecedented levels.
Opposition parties have scolded the government for the indefinite postponement of the multi-billion Tati Activox Refinery project, linking the decision to shortsightedness. They said the suspended project is capable of creating several long-term jobs.
The Secretary General of opposition Botswana Peoples Party, Edward Mpoloka, said "a caring government should have used its power to avoid the option of closure at all costs." He said the halt was going to "bring all social ills you can imagine."
In a statement, the government defended its decision, saying "the mothballing of the BMR project is difficult and painful to accept as this project promised to put Botswana on the cutting edge of the nickel and copper recovery technology. However, in spite of the realization and full appreciation of the benefits that this project was going to bring to the country, one could not ignore the challenging commercial and economic pressures put on the project by the ever increasing capital costs."
The government has admitted the BMR project's usefulness, as it will change the southern African country's nickel industry, grease its economy as well as create more jobs.
But opponents the government's critics said the closure of Activox also negates one of the pillars of the President Khama's Four Ds, especially on dignity because "job losers will lose their dignity" as well.
Dumelang Saleshando, the Public Secretary of Botswana Congress Party was furious that Botswana is touted as a rich country, yet majority of its people live below the poverty line.
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