Dar es Salaam. Barrick Gold Corporation is bullish about its expansion plans in Tanzania, with the mining giant’s President and CEO revealing yesterday that the government has granted it ten new mining exploration licences.
In a statement issued in Dar es Salaam, Bristow said Barrick Gold would spend $8 million (Sh18.4 billion) on exploration alone this year, as the company looks to opening more mining frontiers in Tanzania. He did not specify the exploration locations, though.
“We shall also be looking to expand the life of operations, as well as other new Tanzanian opportunities within the Twiga framework,” Bristow said following his site visits of its mines in the country. Mr Bristow was instrumental in securing the Framework Agreement with the Tanzania government following lengthy negotiations that resulted in the dissolution of Acacia Mining, and the establishment of Twiga Minerals Corporation, a joint venture in which the government owns 16 percent stake. Twiga will oversee management of Barrick’s assets in Tanzania, as well as implementation of the economic benefits-sharing agreement.
His visit comes barely a fortnight following declaration of an interim dividend of $250 million (Sh575bn) for Twiga shareholders. The government already received $40 million (about Sh92 billion) of that payment.
“Barely a year after it was established, Twiga Minerals has demonstrated the value-creating capacity of a true partnership between a mining company and its host nation,” said Mr Bristow. He noted that the operation had in the last one year separately paid the government $200 million (Sh460bn) in taxes and royalties.
“The fact that so much value has been delivered in such a short time is a tribute to the power of what is the first partnership of its kind in Africa.
“With the framework agreement now fully implemented, we have settled most of the land ownership disputes and are well on our way to ensure that we are fully compliant with our environmental permits, as well as with the government’s local content legislation,” Bristow said.
To demonstrate Barrick’s emphatic confidence, Bristow hinted at plans to significantly raise production at the North Mara gold mine in Mara Region and Bulyanhulu gold mine in Shinyanga Region.
“We are gearing up to potentially make North Mara and Bulyanhulu into a combined Tier One complex, capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than ten years in the lower half of the industry’s cost profile,” he said.
He noted that the rehabilitation and re-energization of North Mara is ahead of plans in the year to-date, and Bulyanhulu has resumed underground mining operations. Also, Bulyanhulu is scheduled to restart processing of underground ore by the end of 2020 as a long-life underground mine.
Mr Bristow further said that Barrick Gold remains committed to settling the full $300 million (Sh690bn) payment to the government over past Acacia/government disputes - of which the first tranche of $100 million (Sh230bn) has been paid.