Twiga Minerals Corp. is an exemplary P/PP in Tanzania

Thursday October 28 2021
Cement clip

Photo of Twiga Cement Factory. PHOTO|FILE

By Karl Lyimo

If there ever was an exemplary public/private partnership in Tanzania in recent memory, then Twiga Minerals - which is jointly owned by Barric Gold and the Tanzania Govt - is one such animal…

A ‘public/private partnership’ (P/PP) involves collaboration between government and private-sector institutions to finance, build and/or manage development projects.

Generally, public/private financing makes a project’s implementation not only a real possibility, but also assures the project’s completion as planned.

Twiga Minerals Corporation (TMC) is a private, limited-liability company established in 2019 to manage and operate the North Mara, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi gold mines in Tanzania.

Before that, the mines were operated by a Barrack Gold-owned company, Acacia Mining, which did not get on well with the no-nonsense fifth-phase Government of the late President John Magufuli, in power from November 5, 2015 to March 17, 2021.

This resulted in the government banning mineral concentrates exportation by Acacia Mining – ostensibly exported for further refining abroad.

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In due course of time and events, Acacia Mining was sent packing, and was replaced by Twiga Minerals, a P/PP between the government and the Canadian Barrick Gold, the world’s second-largest goldminer (after Newmont of Denver, Colorado).

What with one thing leading to another, negotiations between the President Magufuli Administration and Barrick Gold reached an agreement of sorts. If nothing else, this saw to TMC doing its job streamingly well.

The agreement required Barrick Gold to pay $300 million to the government in settlement of “all outstanding tax and other disputes; lifting the concentrates exports ban; 50/50 sharing of future economic benefits from the mines,” and establishing an Africa-focused international disputes resolution framework.” [See ‘The launch of Twiga Minerals heralds partnership between Tanzania Government and Barrick;’ GLOBE NEWSWIRE: October 20, 2019].

In 2020, Barrick Gold paid the first $100 million tranche to the Tanzania Govt. as part of the $300 million agreed earlier. It has also revived the three gold mines that had for all practical purposes been dormant for years, and recruited about 600 local employees, whereby Tanzanians now form more than 97 percent of the mines’ workforce.

The Public/Private Partnership had also resulted in the payment of $370 million in taxes and dividends to Tanzania by the end of 2020. On the other hand, Barrick Gold has invested “more than $1.6 billion in Tanzania’s economy” – as well as incurring $4.8 million “spent on community development” under its corporate social responsibility programme.

Barrick Gold is also in the process of grooming the three mines to become its “seventh Tier One gold complex – thus soaring from stagnation to the summit” of its assets. [See “The Value of Partnership: Delivering the Future,” by Barrick Gold; The Citizen: October 11, 2021].

According to Barrick Gold, ‘Tier One Gold Asset’ is “an asset with a reserve potential to deliver a minimum 10-year (production) life, annual production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold, and total cash costs-per-ounce over the mine life that are in the lower-half of the industry’s cost curve.”

Blinding you with golden/gilt-edged science…?

You can say that again!

In any case, if proof were needed that Public/Private Partnership works for both or all the parties to it, then the Barrick Gold/Tanzania Govt P/PP via the Twiga Minerals Corporation is 24-carat living proof of same, we say… This is according th My Book of Things, anyway... Cheers!


Written by Karl Lyimo