From the Democratic Republic of Congo to Tanzania, a raft of new laws were passed in 2017 that challenge how mining companies have hewed to previous agreements
Acacia Mining produces gold and copper, both of which are surging in price, so why did the company ditch its dividend and post a $700 million loss?
“We were thrown … a lot of curveballs,” chief executive Peter Geleta said on an investor earnings call on Monday. “In fact, I don’t think many people would have faced what we faced last year in their whole careers.”
He blamed the company’s woes on the Tanzanian government, which wants to renegotiate how it shares in the wealth from minerals extracted inside its borders.
Last March, the east African country banned the export of unprocessed minerals, leaving Acacia — the country’s biggest miner, which is 64-per cent owned by Toronto-based Barrick Gold — with large stockpiles of gold, copper and silver ore and leading the company to file for arbitration in London.
Now, as commodity prices rise and industry experts speak of a coming boom, governments around the globe, particularly in impoverished, developing regions, are clashing with mining companies over royalties, taxes and, in general, the amount of wealth flowing out of their countries.