Barrick Gold subsidiary loses prospecting licence in Tanzania – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – December 10, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG — Tanzania’s president has lashed out at a Canadian-owned mining company, ordering the cancellation of its prospecting licence at a site where thousands of small-scale miners were facing the threat of forcible removal.

“How do you kick out more than 5,000 people in favour of just one investor?” President John Magufuli told senior officials this week, according to Tanzanian media reports. “This is unacceptable.” He ordered his vice-president to cancel a licence held by a local subsidiary of Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. and said the small-scale miners should be allowed to stay.

The popular new president, an anti-corruption campaigner nicknamed “The Bulldozer” who was elected last year, has repeatedly criticized the foreign-owned mining companies in his East African country. He has accused them of “a lot of funny deals” to avoid taxes in Tanzania, the fourth-biggest gold producer in Africa.

Barrick’s subsidiary, London-based Acacia Mining, is the biggest mining company in Tanzania, where it operates three major gold operations. It says it has invested $3-billion (U.S.) in the country. Barrick has reportedly been seeking a buyer for its majority stake in Acacia.

Asked for comment on the revoking of its licence, an Acacia spokesman released only a terse, one-sentence response: “Acacia undertakes regular dialogue with the Mining Ministry and as such it is not appropriate to discuss specific issues publicly.”

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