Acacia says can’t pay $300 million upfront that deal with Tanzania calls for

By on October 21, 2017
Economie

Acacia Mining said it could not immediately pay the $300 million that its majority shareholder agreed to hand the government of Tanzania to settle a dispute that has crippled the company’s operations in the east African country.

Barrick Gold said on Friday a proposed mining settlement it negotiated with Tanzania for its Acacia Mining unit was not under threat, even though Acacia said it could not immediately make a $300 million (227.43 million pounds) payment included in the deal.

Acacia’s majority owner, Barrick Gold, said on Thursday it had agreed with Tanzania for Acacia to hand over the money and a 16 percent stake in three of its mines and to split the “economic benefits” from those operations].

Tanzania in March banned unprocessed mineral exports as part of a push to reap greater rewards from the east African country’s resources. In July, Acacia, the country’s largest gold miner, was served with a $190 billion bill for unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

But Acacia’s executives managers said on Friday that they had not been presented with any formal proposal and were seeking more clarity on the agreement.

“We don’t have the ability to make an upfront $300 million payment,” he said, adding that a Barrick and government working group would need to come up with a solution.

Acacia shares traded in London tumbled 7 percent to 198 pence by 1218 GMT, partly erasing a 16 percent gain on Thursday after the agreement was announced. The shares have fallen over 60 percent since the disputes broke out.

Tanzania’s largest gold miner, Acacia has been hurt by the country’s sweeping changes in the industry. Those range from a ban on exports of unprocessed gold and copper to laws that increase state ownership of mines, based on the government’s belief that it is not getting a fair share of Tanzania’ mineral wealth.

Acacia, which was not directly involved in the talks with the government, said it would need to approve the deal with Barrick.

The partnership model in the proposed deal is crucial to success in a mining industry in which governments are increasingly seeking greater benefits from resource development, Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said.

A meeting between Barrick Chairman John Thornton and Tanzania President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam on Thursday resulted in the framework agreement, Lloyd said. Acacia was aware of the status of this week’s talks, including the possibility of a 50-50 partnership, he added.

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