DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania President John Magufuli fired his mining minister and the chief of the state-run mineral audit agency on Wednesday after an investigation into possible undeclared exports by mining companies to evade tax.
Magufuli’s decision, announced in a televised speech, signals an escalation of tensions between the government and the mining industry, which has denied engaging in tax evasion. Mining accounts for about 4 percent of the East African nation’s gross domestic product.
Magufuli said the investigation report revealed that Acacia Mining declared the presence of gold, copper and silver in its mineral sand exports but did not declare other precious metals in the consignments.
“The committee (investigating the exports) found that there were many other minerals in those shipping containers that were not declared, such as sulfur, iron, iridium, titanium and zinc,” Magufuli said. “They were also under-invoicing the actual gold, copper and silver content in those shipping containers.”
The report said that Acacia declared about 1.1 tonnes of gold in the containers but an analysis established that the shipment contained up to 15 tonnes. The company denied any wrongdoing and said it had not yet seen the report.
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