NAIROBI – Tanzania’s presidency said Barrick Gold Corp is willing to reimburse money that’s owed to the government, after President John Magufuli accused subsidiary Acacia Mining of failing to pay billions of dollars of taxes. Acacia surged as much as 11%.
Barrick executive chairperson John Thornton met Magufuli for talks in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday, the presidency said in an emailed statement. Barrick confirmed the meeting but not the details of what, if anything, had been agreed.
“Thornton said his company is ready to hold talks with Tanzania that will consider the interests of both sides and is ready to pay all the money it’s expected to pay Tanzania,” Magufuli’s office said. The government welcomes such talks and will establish a panel of experts to negotiate how the company will pay the money and how it will conduct future operations in the country, according to the statement.
The meeting took place two days after the Tanzanian leader accused Acacia of operating illegally and demanded it remit unpaid taxes. The accusation followed an audit of the country’s mineral exports over the past 19 years that found mining companies failed to remit taxes of as much as 108.5 trillion shillings ($48.5 billion) since 1998.
The two sides agreed to discussions to reach a “mutually acceptable solution,” Acacia said in an emailed statement, adding that the company will provide a further update during a scheduled conference call on Thursday. Acacia spokesperson Giles Blackham declined to provide further details.
Toronto-based Barrick, which owns 64% of Acacia, also agreed on Wednesday to help Tanzania build a smelter, according to the presidency’s statement, which didn’t provide further details.
Acacia shares traded 10% higher at 300.80 pence by 2:06 p.m. in London.
“The meeting was constructive and open, with the parties agreeing to enter into negotiations to seek a resolution that is in the best interests of all stakeholders, including Tanzania, Barrick, and Acacia,” Barrick said in a statement Wednesday.