The already difficult relationship between Barrick Gold Corp. and its African arm, Acacia Mining, has taken another blow over claims and counterclaims about Acacia’s tax payments – or lack thereof – to the Tanzanian government.
The spat comes at a tense time for Acacia, whose fate is uncertain as Barrick and African gold producer Randgold Resources merge under a deal announced this week. A new executive team will review the portfolio of the enlarged company and possibly sell, close or restructure mining projects, a process that was already well under way at Barrick.
In an interview earlier this month with The Globe and Mail, Barrick executive chairman John Thornton said Barrick’s Tanzanian mines, which have been housed in 64-per-cent-owned Acacia since 2010, “had not paid corporate income taxes” in Tanzania, although it had made other payments such as royalties and payroll taxes.
The allegedly non-existent tax payments, he said, had severely damaged Acacia’s standing with the Tanzanian government. About a year and a half ago, the government banned exports of gold concentrate, effectively crippling Acacia’s Tanzanian operations and sending its London-listed shares into a tailspin.
Since then, Acacia – formerly known as African Barrick – has been cut out of the talks to negotiate a new economic-value sharing deal with the government.
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