Barrick Gold to pay Tanzania 300 mln USD over dispute

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-20 01:05:48|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest gold mining company, said on Thursday it has agreed to pay the government of Tanzania 300 million U.S. dollars to end a dispute that has hit its operations in the east African country.

In addition, Barrick Gold Executive Chairman John Thornton, said the mining firm will give Tanzania 16 percent stake in its three gold mines and 50 percent share in revenues from the mines.

Thornton revealed these decisions at the end of more than three months of negotiations between the mining firm and the government of Tanzania after the country banned the export of unprocessed minerals and enacted new laws to raise ownership of the nation's mines.

However, Thornton said the decisions should have to be approved by the independent shareholders and directors of Acacia Mining, which is majority owned by Barrick Gold.

Tanzania is Africa's fourth-largest gold producer, and Barrick's Acacia Mining Plc is its largest miner, with three gold mines at North Mara, Buzwagi and Bulyankulu.

President John Magufuli received a report on the outcome of the negotiations and commended members of the negotiating teams from both Barrick Gold and the government of Tanzania for "the job well done."

He commended Barrick Gold for reaching a consensus with Tanzania in resolving the long-standing disputes, saying the mining firm has done that with great love and dedication to the country.

However, President Magufuli asked Barrick Gold to pay the 300 million U.S. dollars soonest possible to enable the government to fund development projects, including the Stiegler's Gorge hydropower generation.

The president ordered that similar negotiation teams should be formed to deal with diamonds and tanzanite.

For his part, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Palamagamba Kabudi, said the agreements reached during the negotiations were in keeping with the new mining laws approved by Parliament in July, this year.

"Efforts pioneered by President Magufuli have started to bare fruits. This is a great step for our country, a lesson as well for other nations," said Kabudi.

"We have agreed to have a 50-percent-share of revenues between the government and Acacia Mining from all its mines," added Kabudi who headed Tanzanian delegation to the negotiations.

According to him, the two teams had agreed that the mining firms should shift their headquarters from abroad to Tanzania and all revenues from mining should be deposited in local bank accounts.

"To ensure that the mining sector is well supervised to benefit all Tanzanians, some government officials will be included in the mining firms board of directors," he said.

In March this year, Magufuli announced a temporary ban on exports of metallic mineral concentrates and immediately formed two committees, which recommended a permanent ban on the same after accusing Acacia of illegally operating in the country and evading tax.

The move made Thornton to fly to Tanzania where he met Magufuli in mid-June and they agreed to engage in negotiations to resolve the disputes.