Barrick Gold CEO frustrated over ongoing Acacia tax impasse – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 9, 2019)

Mark Bristow came to Barrick Gold Corp. with a strong reputation for operating mines in tough jurisdictions in Africa. But a solution to one of the company’s most vexing problems on the continent still eludes him.

The chief executive says the miner has made little progress in its attempts to end a tax dispute with Tanzania that has crippled production at its London-based subsidiary.

Speaking in Toronto on Wednesday after the release of Barrick’s first-quarter earnings, Mr. Bristow said that two years after a fracas erupted between 63.9-per-cent Barrick-owned Acacia Mining PLC and the government of Tanzania, both parties are still very much at odds.

“All the effort we’ve made, we don’t seem to be able to get through to anyone,” he said, expressing frustration with the situation. Mr. Bristow said Barrick is now considering “all options,” including buying back Acacia’s minority shareholders or encouraging the miner to announce a strategic sales process.

In 2017, the Tanzanian government accused Acacia of US$200-billion in tax fraud and imposed a gold concentrate export ban on the company. While Acacia maintains it has paid a significant amount in taxes to Tanzania, Barrick has argued it needs to pay more.

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