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Tanzania: Barrick president jets into Dar as mining tensions rise

Dushnisky, who is also the chairman of Acacia's board of directors, jetted into Dar es Salaam earlier this week to try to seek more clarity into the ongoing stalemate over mineral sand exports, sources close to the mining sector told The Guardian.

Tanzania: Barrick president jets into Dar as mining tensions rise

Dushnisky, who is also the chairman of Acacia's board of directors, jetted into Dar es Salaam earlier this week to try to seek more clarity into the ongoing stalemate over mineral sand exports, sources close to the mining sector told The Guardian.

03 June 2017 Saturday 13:38
Tanzania: Barrick president jets into Dar as mining tensions rise

 Acacia Mining Plc, majority-owned by Toronto-based Barrick, has been caught up in a growing furore over allegations of underinvoincing its gold and copper concentrates. Acacia has strongly denied the tax evasion accusations.

Dushnisky, who is also the chairman of Acacia's board of directors, jetted into Dar es Salaam earlier this week to try to seek more clarity into the ongoing stalemate over mineral sand exports, sources close to the mining sector told The Guardian.

Acacia Mining Plc's chief executive officer, Brad Gordon, is also in Dar es Salaam as the gold miner looks to resolve its dispute with the government since the banning of mineral sand exports in March this year.

Gordon said he expected talks with senior officials of the Tanzanian government to start after publication of a second report into mining that is due “within the next one to two weeks.”

“We remain hopeful we’ll be able to agree a resolution to the current export ban with the government, but we continue to consider all of our options,” Gordon said on a conference call with investors yesterday.

Shares in Acacia fell by a record 30 per cent last month after a presidential committee said the value of minerals in concentrates impounded at the Dar es Salaam port was more than 10 times the declared amount.

A second committee that is yet to conclude its work is looking at historical exports of metal concentrates from Tanzania.

The company is willing to fund a study into whether a smelter could be built in Tanzania, to meet President John Magufuli's goal of having more of the value of mining within the country, Gordon said.

Gordon said he had held “senior-level” meetings in Tanzania with Dushnisky over the past week, but declined to specify who they had met.=

“There’s been some concern in the country in terms of the damage to its reputation in terms of international investment,” Gordon said. “There’s a recognition of that and they’re moving to ensure they protect their longer-term reputation.”

The London-listed miner said in a statement yesterday that it was “hopeful” of reaching an agreement with the government over its ban on mineral sand exports.

In an update released on its website, Acacia said it had fully co-operated with the presidential committee set up to review the mining sector, with the miner fighting back against accusations it misstated the value of its gold shipments.

Parliamentary wrangle

“We remain hopeful that we will be able to reach a resolution to the current situation with the government so that we can continue to deliver strong performance from our mines for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Acacia.

The miner said the uncertainty had weighed down on its productivity levels, but it would not yet be making any change to its full-year production guidance.

Meanwhile, parliamentary debate on the Ministry of Energy and Minerals' budget proposals for fiscal year 2017/18 was disrupted in Dodoma for several minutes yesterday after Kibamba Member of Parliament John Mnyika (Chadema) was forcefully removed from the House for defying Speaker Job Ndugai.

Ndugai ordered sergeants-at-arms to eject Mnyika from the chamber and parliament grounds and suspended him from attending Bunge for seven days after he refused to heed the Speaker's instructions to sit down.

"Honourable Mnyika, don't dare me," the Speaker warned the MP after he defied repeated directives to sit down and allow a ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) lawmaker to proceed with debate.

The opposition lawmaker refused to sit down, demanding that the Speaker should take action against an unknown MP who had called Mnyika a "thief."

Video clips from parliament showed at least four sergeants-at-arms dragging Mnyika out of the debating chamber.

In his earlier remarks, Mnyika dismissed accusations from CCM lawmakers that he was backing mining companies in the row over mineral exports, but criticised the government for banning exports of mineral sand while allowing the nation's natural sources to be "plundered" through the ongoing exports of gold bars.

Another opposition MP, Ester Bulaya (Bunda Urban), could also face disciplinary action from the parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee for allegedly ordering lawmakers to walk out of Parliament after Mnyika was forcefully ejected.

The opposition MP had intervened to make the remarks while Mtera lawmaker Livingstone Lusinde (CCM) was debating the mining ministry's budget estimates.

Lusinde criticised opposition MPs for disregarding national interests in the mining debate and instead engaged in cheap politics to try to derail President Magufuli's efforts.

He said in an unexpected role reversal that opposition leaders, who have traditionally complained that Tanzania was not getting a fair share of revenues from its mineral wealth, were now seemingly defending the very same mining companies.

Speaking to journalists outside parliament, some opposition MPs said they planned to boycott the ongoing budget session, accusing the Speaker of openly favouring CCM lawmakers.

The Guardian

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