Canadian foreign aid was discussed during Barrick tax dispute in Tanzania, internal e-mails show – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 42022)

A newly obtained cache of e-mails has shed light on the anger and anxiety at Barrick Gold Corp. and the federal trade department after a Barrick subsidiary was hit with a disastrous export ban and massive tax claim in Tanzania.

The ban on gold concentrate exports triggered one of the worst crises in the history of Barrick’s operations in Africa, with its subsidiary losing two-thirds of its share value as the tax dispute deteriorated.

The internal e-mails reveal how Barrick sought emergency help from Ottawa to resolve the crisis in 2017, with Canada’s multibillion-dollar foreign aid budget among the items on the table for discussion.

The battle began in March, 2017, when the Tanzanian government announced a ban on the export of gold and copper concentrates, in an attempt to pressure mining companies into doing more smelting and refining in the country.

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