DAR ES SALAAM
Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian
President John Magufuli has threatened to shut down foreign gold
mining companies if proposed negotiations aimed at ending
long-standing disputes continued to be delayed.
disputes between the government and the mining firms center on
royalties, which President Magufuli says Tanzania has been
denied its due payments for a very long time.
Recently, the government and Barrick Gold, the largest
shareholder of Acacia Mining, agreed to hold talks seeking to
end the long standing dispute over royalties Acacia allegedly
owes on gold exports but the talks have not been held to date.
Magufuli had in mid June this year during his meeting with
Barrick Gold executive chairman, John Thornton in Dar es Salaam
agreed to initiate formal talks to resolve the dispute between
the government and Acacia mining.
This follows after two presidential committees revealed that
Tanzania had lost over 45 billion U.S. dollars in royalties
since the company started to operate in the country in the
Addressing a public rally at Kakonko in Kigoma region soon
after he had laid the foundation stone for the construction of a
50-kilometer road from Nyakanazi to Kibondo, Magufuli said
Tanzania has been losing billions of dollars in exports of
copper concentrates which mining companies were taking abroad
"The current war against economic crime is aimed at
benefiting poor citizens who have had their minerals stolen by
few wealthy people in the name of investors," he said.
"It is therefore unfair for the mining firms continue to
benefit while our people have no medicines, electricity and
struggle to get clean and safe water."
Magufuli asserted that the gold mining firms should consider
the imminent talks as a priority or else he will not hesitate
shutting down the mines.
The president said the government may resolve to give the
mines to local investors so long as they paid appropriate taxes.
"This country wasn’t supposed to be poor; it has been endowed
with minerals which were stolen through export of copper
concentrates," said Magufuli, appealing to Tanzanians to support
him in his fight against economic crime, which he said was the
toughest undertaking ever.
He said that if the country was getting its appropriate
royalties since the mining companies started their operations,
Tanzanians would have better social services, with improved
infrastructure across the country.
In June this year, Magufuli met with John Thornton, Chairman
of Barrick Gold Canada, parent company of Acacia Mining, to
discuss the mineral sand saga after Magufuli received two
reports on the exports of copper concentrates.
Magufuli said the meeting was successful and Barrick had
"repented" for what had happened and they were now ready to
compensate Tanzania for the loss that the country had incurred
over the years.
In March this year, Magufuli formed two committees which
probed the technical aspects of the gold concentrates and the
economic and legal frameworks around the exports.
Early this month, the National Assembly approved laws aimed
at forcing mining companies to renegotiate their contracts.
Magufuli has already assented the laws.
Acacia Mining said recently that it was seeking an
adjudicator to resolve its dispute with the government.
Acacia, Tanzania’s largest miner, said in a statement that
notices of arbitration were served on behalf of companies that
own its Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines, hit by an export ban.
And the South African-based Anglogold Ashanti, owners of the
Geita Gold Mine (GGM) in the Lake Zone, also announced intention
filing for international arbitration over legislative changes in
Tanzania which entitle the government to re-negotiate all
existing mineral development agreements.
Among the changes passed by parliament and swiftly signed
into law by President Magufuli on July 5 is a provision for the
government to take ownership of a minimum 16 per cent stake in
all operative mining companies at no cost, with the right to buy
shares equal to half the business.
A host of mining companies operating in Tanzania requested
share trading suspensions on July 3 following the emergence of
the terms of legislation.