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In the latest twist of this Acacia Mining (headquarters: London) and Government of the United Republic of Tanzania saga, the mass-circulation Daily Mail (circulation approx. 1.5 million, headquarters: London) refers to Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam (population approx. 4.5 million) as a "fishing village", no doubt an innocent and unintended mistake but equally an eye-raising one too.  NB: I am not suggesting an link between Acacia Mining and the Daily Mail, aside from that they both are HQed in the same city... which no doubt was a fishing village once, too!

See BBC news story at: https://twitter.com/BBCAfrica/status/885463866896986115

I would be particularly interested in hearing the views of Tanzanians on this story :-)

Hi, Maya, Antipas and Alexandra 

This is a very important topic, and congratulations to all three of you for posting on it.  I note that there are two current GOXI posts, one started by Maya and Alexandra - and the other by yourself, Antipas.  For simplicity and economy I post the same response herein to both.

Firstly, then, an update - Barrick Gold Corporation has taken over the negotiations with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania), with any agreement subject Acacia Mining's shareholders. Beneficial ownership context: "Acacia Mining plc is a company listed on the London Stock Exchange that owns gold mines and exploration properties in Africa. Barrick holds a 63.9% equity interest in Acacia."  Whilst these negotiations happen, arbitration proceedings have now been triggered.

Secondly, some observations:

  • I broadly agree with the points made in Maya/Alexandra's post
  • In-country smelting: this is part of a drive to ensure as much local content and value addition across Africa as possible, common across all of the continent's natural resources, and should be viewed as part of that development movement - and not simply in terms of $s.
  • Tanzanian President Magafuli is not known as "The Bulldozer" for nothing, and has the support of massive swathes of his population in his high profile, visible action-oriented attacks on corruption, non-performing civil servants, and rent-seeking in all its forms.  This genuine popularity is true despite his more authoritarian tendencies.  Acacia Mining plc noted, in an investor broker call, that some of the features of its Mining Development Agreement have been eroded with previous changes in national legislation.  President Magafuli is continuing this process of weathering.  The whole issue is, in fact, an interesting potential case study in-practice of stabilisation versus the concept of an obsolescing contract, the respective balance between which & here I will not try and answer in this GOXI response.  If the President manages to win a fiscal bonus for Tanzania from his legislative changes, then why should his voters not be pleased?  The first such bonus could be the 1% "clearing fee" on mineral exports, as explained by the Tanzanian Prime Minister Dr Philip Mpango as follows:

“The Government will not allow direct exportation of minerals from the mines to other countries and instead it will establish clearing houses at the international airports, mining areas and other appropriate areas where the minerals will be verified and issued export permit before being exported. The Government will impose a clearing fee of one percent of the value of minerals”

  • Lastly, the surprise of many in the negative findings of the Tanzanian commission of enquiry into Acacia's mineral sand exports was in itself surprising - President Magafuli had said in advance that “Based on the information that I have, if I say what is really inside these containers, it could make any patriotic Tanzanian cry…. From now onwards, no mineralised sand will be exported from Tanzania… There is no country being robbed of its mineral wealth like Tanzania”.  In a country like Tanzania, it is natural and prudent for the President's own commission to confirm the previously stated position of their very-present boss.

 

Many thanks to the authors of this very well founded alternative view of developments in the Tanzania Government’s handling of suspicious ACACIA ‘s mineral concentrates on export, I consider enables many of us to better understand facts on the matter.

 I expected all mineral development agreements between governments and investors would have clauses which address the solving of disagreements/disputes (in view of ensuring approach is the one which generates legally binding solutions/judgements most  efficiently in terms of time and costs);

 and disclosure of information (in view of ensuring disclosed information is legally correct, and its disclosure won’t cause baseless and/or unnecessary damages to any party in the agreements, including in front of the eyes of public).

And that, compliance to such approach could have been ACACIA and the Government would jointly handled the re-sampling of the suspicious concentrates to generate results which are legally binding straightway, hence enable the generation of legally binding solution/judgement to be the most efficient in terms of time and costs, and a disclosure of information on the disagreement/dispute is useful rather damaging to a party or parties (including in the eyes of public), or misleading public unnecessarily.