ACACIA Mining will keep its three mines in the country operating “as long as a negotiated result is possible,” Acacia Mining CEO, Brad Gordon says as negotiations to resolve an impasse between the government and the mining firm have been agreed.
He said in teleconference over the weekend that he was pleased that such negotiations were about to take place as this had always been Acacia’s “preferred route” to reach a suitable result for both sides, according to an article posted on Mining website.
The government has placed a ban on exports of gold/copper concentrate produced by two of Acacia’s three mines in the country claiming that Acacia had not declared their true value. A Tanzanian Presidential committee has also claimed that Acacia owes the country “tens of billions of dollars” in unpaid tax.
Acacia has disputed the claims. Acacia has also pointed out that the Tanzanian assessment, if true, would make the two mines among the richest in the world with annual production of more than 1.5 million ounces of gold each.
Gordon said Acacia’s response to these assessments and allegations had not changed from the statement issued on June 12 in which Acacia said: “Acacia strongly refutes these new unfounded allegations. We have always conducted our business to the highest standards and operated in full compliance with Tanzanian laws.”
He described the upcoming negotiations as “a real opportunity to rebase our operating environment in the country”, but declined to go into specifics of what he meant by “operating environment”.
Quizzed by analysts, Gordon would only comment: “It has more to do with the financial regime than mine plans and operations.”
Gordon said Barrick Gold and Acacia would form a combined negotiating team and he welcomed Barrick CEO, John Thornton’s involvement commenting: “We are pleased that Barrick is involved and able to help us achieve the outcome we want from this”.
John Thornton wanted to experience the situation on the ground for himself and that’s why he was in the country. Gordon said the impact of the confrontation with government had been demotivating for Acacia’s employees commenting: “Their mood is not good.
Their integrity has been called into question. The situation is difficult for them and, obviously, there has been an impact on productivity.”
But he added that Acacia “… at this stage” was sticking to the production guidance announced at the start of the year.