BARRICK Gold Corporation has invested a total of 1.995 billion US dollars (about 4. 65tri/-) since taking control of Tanzania operations from Acacia mine in 2019 to-date, cementing its position as a key socio-economic partner in the country.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the gold mining firm, Mark Bristow told reporters in the first half of this year, that they paid 158 million US dollars (368.4bn/-) as taxes, royalties and levies.
It has also paid 42 million US dollars (97.9bn/-) to the government for dividends and shareholders loans, as well as 210 million US dollars (489.8bn/-) to local suppliers.
It has also paid 140 million US dollars (about 326.4bn/-) of its 300 million US dollars (about 699.6bn/-) settlement with the government, he said.
“When we took over these mines they were a moribund burden on the government and their investors. In a very short time, we redesigned and reengineered them, creating what are in effect two new mines,” said Bristow.
Barrick Gold Corporation settled a long-running tax dispute between Tanzania and its then subsidiary Acacia in 2019.
The agreement includes the payment of 300 million US dollars to settle outstanding tax and other disputes, the lifting of a concentrate export ban, and the sharing of future economic benefits from mines on a 50-50 basis.
They agreed also to form a new operating company named Twiga Minerals to manage the Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines and for the government to buy a shareholding of 16 per cent in each of the mines.
Mr Bristow said the mines were well placed to deliver their annual production guidance and have the potential to achieve a combined Tier One2 status in Barrick’s portfolio, meaning that they are capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years at the lower end of the cost spectrum as a combined complex.
“We are continuing to replace resources depleted by mining and we are targeting new opportunities as well, increasing our footprint around Bulyanhulu through the acquisition of six highly prospective licences.
We’re also updating the geological models in the North Mara region and identifying potential targets elsewhere in Tanzania.” In line with Barrick’s policy of local employment, Tanzanian nationals now account for 96 per cent of the two mines’ workforces and 64 per cent of their senior management are Tanzanians, he said.
The mines are also driving the increased employment of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry through targeted recruitment and development programmes.
Barrick has committed 6 US dollars for every ounce of gold sold by the two mines to improving healthcare, education, infrastructure and access to potable water in their communities.
A further 70 million US dollars has been allocated to investment in valueadding national projects, including mining related training and scientific facilities at Tanzanian universities.
During the past quarter Bulyanhulu was named the overall winner of the Tanzanian OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Authority) award for 2022 while North Mara received the award for the best community health outreach programme.
“In our good relations, especially with the surrounding communities we have decided to pipe clean and safe water from our plant in North Mara in a landmark project at 440,000 US dollars (1tri/-) to the villages of Matongo, Nyabichuna and Mji Kati of about 30,000 residents.
At the same time we purchase watermelons, eggs and vegetables among others locally produced and that means we provide them with ready market.”
The Deputy Minister for Minerals, Dr Steven Kiruswa, asked the villagers and institutions, which might have grudges with the investor to consider ironing them amicably outside the court.
“Barrick is part and parcel of us for peaceful co-existence and development, I would ask you (communities) with any dispute to address them amicably outside the court and if possible both parties should go from an arbitrator that is fielded by all… may I also assure you that the government is with you and nothing will go out of hand,” he said.
In a related development, he asked Mr Bristow to reinstate training of the locals in different fields, like driving and ICT courses so that they get added advantage in their employment opportunities and outside the mine.
That was after Tarime Rural Member of Parliament, Mwita Waitara requested the investor to reinstate the free training they were enjoying at the mine that had been phased out and in turn forcing the locals to pay expensively for it outside the company.