JPM: Auction off gold concentrates

25Jan 2020
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
JPM: Auction off gold concentrates

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday ordered the auctioning of hundreds of containers with gold concentrates that were impounded at the port of Dar es Salaam in 2017.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday after witnessing the signing of nine partnership agreements between the government and Barrick Gold Corporation, the president directed that the proceeds realized from the over 200 containers of concentrates be taken by Twiga Minerals Corporation—a joint venture firm the government co-owns with the Canadian mining giant.

“This is a very important and historical day for us, and it is not only for Tanzania but for Africa at large. I know it wasn’t an easy journey but we managed to overcome. I commend all who have been engaged in this discussion, they are our nation’s patriots,” he told the gathering.

President Magufuli assured Barrick and all other investors around the world that Tanzania is the best place for investment thus welcoming them to the country.

“We don’t need to fight with investors but rather engage in discussions and negotiations while cooperating with them in a win-win situation…So this spirit should continue and be sustained. I know there are ongoing discussions between the government and other companies of tanzanite and diamonds to ensure that the country benefits from its resources,” Dr Magufuli affirmed.

He said that in the new contract, the government will acquire a free carried shareholding of 16 percent in each of the mines and will receive its half of the economic benefits through taxes, royalties, clearing fees and participation in all cash distribution made by the mines and Twiga.

The government will provide all supportive efforts to ensure that the new company operates smoothly, he stated.

He further urged Twiga Minerals to work closely with mining zones surrounding communities and make sure that they support them improve their lives by providing needed support in education, health, water and other areas.

Further, he reminded them on environment protection for sustainable development.

For his part, Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow also described the dispute with Tanzania as a “long journey” which has taken close to three years.

Being a year now, we have finally completed the long journey of negotiations and agreed on nine key points that will underpin activities of Twiga Mining Corporation a joint venture between the Tanzania government and Barrick,” he stated.

“Many people said your criticism will chase away investors ... But what has been done is a challenge for the mining industry and all of us to embark on something where we win together or lose together,” he said.

Earlier, the government’s negotiating committee chairman Prof Palamagamba Kabudi said that the new Twiga Minerals Corporation will manage Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines as one among strategies to settle all disputes relating to claims of the government on mining operations formerly conducted by Acacia (T) Ltd.

The nine partnership agreements include the Framework Agreement, the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, the Twiga Shareholders Agreement and the North Mara Shareholders Agreement.

Others are the Bulyanhulu Shareholders Agreement, the Buzwagi Shareholders Agreement, the North Mara Development Agreement, the Buzwagi Development Agreement and the Bulyahulu Development Agreement.

The dispute originally involved Acacia Mining, which was bought out by Barrick last year in a $1.2 billion transaction. The government’s ban on the export of mineral concentrates occurred early 2017, accusing Acacia of tax evasion.

In March 2017, the government directed the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to impound over 200 containers with gold concentrate (mineral sand) from Buzwagi Gold Mine (BZGM) stored at MOFED dry port at Kurasini in the city ready for export.

The move came two days after the president made an impromptu visit at the port and discovered 20 containers filled with concentrate for export, ordering a thorough investigation.

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