Nornickel Exits Nkomati Joint Venture in South Africa

Nornickel Exits Nkomati Joint Venture in South Africa

Agreement Details and Liabilities Transfer

Nornickel, via its subsidiary Norilsk Nickel Africa Proprietary Limited, has finalized an agreement to transfer its 50% stake in the Nkomati joint venture to African Rainbow Minerals Limited. The deal includes the transfer of all Nkomati’s liabilities, including environmental obligations, to ARM, for a fee payable by NNAf to ARM. The transaction is expected to be completed in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals in South Africa.

Nornickel’s Strategic Shift

This move aligns with Nornickel’s strategy of exiting foreign assets that don’t meet its criteria, focusing on its core mineral resource base and processing facilities in Russia. The decision reflects Nornickel’s commitment to consolidating its operations and ensuring long-term reliability.

Legal Proceedings with BCL and Botswana Government

Nornickel’s strategy has faced challenges, particularly with the Botswana government’s subsidiary BCL. Despite an initial agreement in 2014 for BCL to acquire Nkomati and Tati mines, BCL’s subsequent liquidation led to legal disputes.

Ongoing Efforts in Botswana

Nornickel’s efforts to divest its African assets have been ongoing. The company is involved in legal proceedings against the Botswana government regarding the sale of its interests in the Tati and Nkomati mines. Despite a binding agreement in 2014 for BCL to purchase Nornickel’s interest in these mines for $337 million, BCL’s subsequent provisional liquidation in 2016 has stalled the process. Nornickel seeked arbitration in London, as per the sales and purchase agreement.

In 2021, Nornickel has settled its dispute with the Government of Botswana and BCL. The settlement includes an agreed cash compensation to Nornickel, and the withdrawal of Nornickel’s claims in the LCIA and Botswana’s High Court. This agreement brings closure to the longstanding legal battle between the parties. icon

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