Botswana’s state-owned miner and smelter BCL, the subject of the country’s largest liquidation, has a large environmental rehabilitation problem that has made a sale of the assets nearly impossible. But there are plans to try to reduce the liability that contributed to the crippling of the badly managed company. While 46 parties expressed interest in BCL’s assets, which include suspended underground mines and the smelting complex — one of the world’s largest nickel smelters — barely any of them were worth the paper they were written on. The more serious parties were unwilling to proceed once they became aware of the environmental liability of more than 3-billion pula ($285.9m). The provisional liquidator essentially has two options to present to the government, the largest creditor to the failed company that represented 4% of Botswana’s GDP and employed more than 5,000 people. It could close everything and let the state pick up the rehabilitation bill. Alternatively, it could reduce...

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