VANCOUVER/TORONTO (Reuters) – China’s Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd and Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd are in separate talks with Acacia Mining Plc to form a joint venture for the London-listed company’s gold mines in Tanzania, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Acacia’s majority shareholder, Barrick Gold Corp, is involved in the discussions, the people said. Acacia, caught in a near year-long tax dispute with the government of Tanzania, has also has held talks with state-owned China National Gold Group about such a partnership, two of the people said, although it was not clear if those talks are ongoing.
Shares in London-listed Acacia, which were down around 3 percent, rebounded after the Reuters report to trade up as much as 3.4 percent. They closed down 0.9 percent, at 162.95 pence.
Its shares have fallen around 70 percent in the past 12 months due to the tax dispute as well as an industrywide export ban on minerals not processed in Tanzania. Its woes have also weighed on Barrick’s stock, which is down some 30 percent in the past year.
Acacia, which has all its operations in Tanzania, confirmed the Reuters report, saying that in response to expressions of interest from Chinese companies it has begun a process to explore the sale of a stake in some or all of its operations. It said the process was at a very early stage.