Resource nationalism as imperialism – by Arianto Sangadji (Inside Indonesia – Oct/Dec 2017)

Foreign investment in large-scale mining has encountered serious obstacles

Over the past decade, foreign investment in large-scale mining has been hampered by the enactment of Law No. 4/2009 concerning mineral and coal, which replaced the more liberal Law No. 11/1967. The replacement act and its subsequent regulations have been the subject of intense national policy debate.

Apart from a host of uncertainties due to regulatory changes, some argue that the new law substantially undermines favourable conditions for foreign mining investment. Initially, at least, the policies restricted the inflow of transnational mining capital.

Most criticism of the current development of mining investment is directed at government policy for being heavily nationalistic, for example the prohibition on exporting unprocessed ores in the 2009 law; the mandatory requirement for in-country processing and refining; and the imposition of partial but significant divestiture of foreign mining capital on domestic mining firms, both-state owned and private.

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Tanzania edges towards total mine nationalization – by Sebastian Spio-Garbrah and Mark Willms (DaMina Advisors – October 2017)

Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, JD, Chief Frontier Markets Analyst; with Mark Willms, LLB, LLM, Co-Head DaMina Advisors. DaMina Advisors is a preeminent Africa-focused independent frontier markets risk research, due diligence and Africa M&A transactions consulting and strategic advisory firm.

Tanzania is edging closer and closer to a total nationalization of the country’s mining sector. The spirit of recent laws passed by the Parliament of Tanzania signals that the ongoing disputes between the government of Tanzania and foreign mining companies is moving towards nationalization and the non-enforcement of any international arbitration awards in local Tanzanian courts.

The textual essence of these new laws revolve around the notion that Tanzania’s domestic law is to be supreme over any international dispute or arbitration decision, as Tanzanian sovereignty is considered to be of utmost importance. The laws also take retroactive effect on existing mining contracts.

There are many provisions in the new laws that express the government’s statist anti-foreign investor bias.

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Investors wary as Tanzania moves to assert more control over mines – by Katharine Houreld and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – September 24, 2017)

NAIROBI/LONDON (Reuters) – New laws and a crackdown on mining firms in Tanzania has slowed fresh investment in what has long been seen as one of Africa’s brightest mining prospects as companies assess the consequences of government efforts to claim a bigger slice of the pie.

Takeover bids and exploration plans have been canceled and workers laid off. The share prices of many firms listed in Australia, Britain, South Africa and Canada with interests in Tanzania have halved as the value of their investments tumble.

The tumult follows the passage of three laws in July that, among other things, hike taxes on mineral exports, mandate a higher government stake in some mining operations and force the construction of local smelters to bring Tanzania higher up the mining food chain.

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Goldplat miner seeks to tame Africa risk – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – September 19, 2017)

LONDON (Reuters) – Upheaval in Tanzania, where the government has made huge tax demands and seized minerals, has triggered changes in neighboring Kenya, which should reassure the industry, said the CEO of Goldplat (GLDP.L), which operates a gold mine there.

Chief Executive Gerard Kisbey-Green said he was nevertheless seeking to diversify his portfolio to cover more African nations and to expand into platinum group metals as he strives to offset African risk.

This year, the mining industry has reeled from South Africa’s proposed new mining charter and changes in Tanzania, where the government is locked in a tax dispute with Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) subsidiary Acacia (ACAA.L).

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Resource nationalism: do the riches outweigh the risks? – by Sandra Rubin (Lexpert Business of Law – September 19, 2017)

Canadian miners experiencing “increasing anxiety” over country risk

WITH A GROWING NUMBER of mining companies moving into higher-risk countries in recent years in the search of the next big deposit, they and their investors are increasingly grappling with a resurgence in resource nationalism that can badly buffet share prices.

There’s been a trend recently for foreign governments, especially in emerging-market countries, to target large producers and seek higher taxes, larger shares of the profits, new ownership arrangements or new kinds of payments from the same companies they once wooed with generous concessions.

And if they don’t get what they’re asking for? The companies may find their permits yanked, their income and personnel restricted from leaving the country, their tax regimes or legal obligations suddenly changed, or even be forced to give the government or state a larger stake in the project.

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Tanzanian Leader’s War for Taxes Puts Economy in Firing Line – by Omar Mohammed and Michael Cohen (Bloomberg News – September 18, 2017)

Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s deepening dispute with companies he accuses of being tax cheats is rattling investors and dimming the allure of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

Since taking office in late 2015, Magufuli has been on a drive to increase revenue from natural resources to help fund his industrialization plans. His administration has passed laws enabling it to renegotiate contracts and ordered foreign mining firms to sell stakes on the local stock exchange to increase transparency.

The authorities have hit Acacia Mining Plc with a $190 billion tax bill, curbed its exports and detained a senior employee, and seized gems and questioned staff from Petra Diamonds Ltd., alleging it hadn’t paid its dues.

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Fight for World’s Biggest Gold Mine Isn’t Over, Says Former CEO – by Karlis Salna and Yoga Rusmana (Bloomberg News – September 15, 2017)

The landmark deal that forced Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to cede control of the world’s biggest gold mine and second-largest copper mine to Indonesia may not be the final outcome as both sides prepare for a politically charged fight over the price of the asset and how it will be run, according to the U.S. company’s former chief in Indonesia.

Chappy Hakim, who once led the nation’s air force and who remains an adviser to Freeport Indonesia after his resignation as chief executive in February, said the political nature of the negotiations, which have been going on for years, make it unpredictable as to what both sides will finally agree.

“They can go somewhere we don’t expect,” Hakim said in an interview in Jakarta. “There are a lot of side interests involving politicians. That’s why I don’t like it. Politicians are like golfers that have a lot of power but no direction.”

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Gold miners seek safety as political risks rise – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – September 14, 2017)

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian miner Eldorado Gold Corp’s threat this week to freeze investments in Greece after years of frustrating and costly permit delays highlighted the risks the industry faces when it strays away from mining-friendly countries.

After moving into higher-risk countries in recent years to mine new deposits, companies are being forced to seek safe havens during a rise in so-called resource nationalism and other political headwinds.

From Indonesia and Tanzania to South Africa and Zambia, governments are demanding greater control over mineral riches as metals prices rise, often seeking higher royalty payments. In Eldorado’s case, the company faces a leftist-led Greek government that publicly backs investment but has powerful insiders that oppose privately owned mining projects.

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World’s Richest Mines Slipping From Hands of Multinationals – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – September 5, 2017)

Outnumbered and outflanked, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson made an about-face. Only months before, Adkerson had dismissed the idea of selling a majority stake in the Phoenix-based company’s flagship Indonesian copper-and-gold mine to local investors. But, seated beside government officials in Jakarta last week, the veteran executive told reporters he planned to do just that.

“Freeport caves to govt demands” headlined The Jakarta Post while the Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry tweeted its glee: “Freeport obedient, Indonesia is sovereign” and posted pictures of Adkerson, conspicuous in gold-and-black batik alongside triumphant local officials.

That image — a red-faced American CEO in a tropical shirt furiously back peddling — may come to haunt not just Adkerson but his cohort of multinational CEOs. Freeport’s loosening grip on its Indonesian crown jewel illustrates a larger challenge facing the global mining industry: In a surge of economic nationalism, local governments and unions are pushing back against Western dominance of the world’s natural resources.

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Indonesia’s long relationship with Freeport at crossroads – by Staff (Asian Corrospondent – March 16, 2017)

AMERICAN mining giant Freeport-McRoRan Copper & Gold may soon pull out of Indonesia after more than four decades due to prolonged conflict with the government. The company, which is the country’s oldest international investor and largest taxpayer, has been embroiled in a battle with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration over new national mining regulation.

Legislation introduced in January 2017 requires Freeport to convert its business contract into a special mining licence, dictating the company must divest 51 percent of shares in its local subsidiary within a decade and build a new US$2 billion smelter.

With economic nationalism a key aspect of Jokowi’s agenda, the government is also demanding higher royalties, land relinquishments and more materials to be procured from local suppliers.

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Study of 10 resource-rich countries show export taxes offer virtually no benefits: OECD – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – March 9, 2017)

Export restrictions and local content quotas in the mining sector are more likely to hamper than spark economic growth in developing countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Jane Korinek, economist and trade policy analyst at the OECD presented findings from a study of 10 resource rich countries with various levels of export regulations, from outright bans on exports such as in Indonesia, to export quotas in place in countries like China, and export taxes as seen in Russia and Argentina.

“There was virtually no benefit and in some cases there were negative impacts,” on economic growth, Korinek said on a panel Wednesday, the final day of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention.

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Indonesia evaluating mining rules as 2017 deadline on metal exports nears – by Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – September 8, 2016)

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s mining ministry is scrambling to find a way around a deadline on mineral processing that could prevent some miners, including U.S. copper mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc, from exporting minerals from the country from 2017.

Under a government regulation introduced in 2014, miners of copper, zinc, lead, manganese and iron are restricted to exporting partially processed minerals until January 2017, after which only shipments of refined metals will be allowed.

The export curbs – which have cost Indonesia billions of dollars in lost revenue – were intended to shift sales from unprocessed raw materials to higher-value finished metals, but smelters have been slow to materialise as low commodity prices have made them economically unviable.

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Chinese Takeovers Trigger Global Backlash Ahead of G-20 Summit – by Rich Miller (Washington Post/Bloomberg – August 26, 2016)

(Bloomberg) — Forget about Yankee go home. Now it’s Chinese go home.

From Australia blocking a bid for a power network to the U.K.’s review of a proposed Chinese-funded nuclear plant, opposition to China’s outward push is opening a thornier and potentially more treacherous front in the country’s economic tug-of-war with the rest of the world. And it’s coming as China prepares to host a Sept. 4-5 summit of Group of 20 leaders.

Unlike festering frictions over trade, the new front is in an area — investment — where the global rules of engagement are more amorphous and where national security interests are more prominent. That raises the risk of a rapid escalation of tensions that can’t be so easily contained.

“The implicit accusation when rejecting overseas direct investment is much stronger than trade,” said James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney.

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Kazakhstan: Privatization Versus Control – by Eimear O’Casey and Alexander Batchilo (Forbes Magazine – July 28, 2016)

LONDON — Like oil and gas exporters across the globe, Kazakhstan has been hit hard by the sharp drop in global hydrocarbon prices since late 2014. Exports are down, budget revenues have been squeezed, and the Central Bank was forced to carry out a de-facto devaluation in August 2015 that rendered the Kazakh tenge the world’s most volatile currency last year.

In response, the government has emphatically embarked on an anti-crisis plan. At its center is a major privatization drive, announced in January. In total, 65 state-owned companies and 175 of their subsidiaries are to be transferred partially or entirely to the private sector via a combination of negotiations, auctions and initial public offerings (IPOs) by 2020.

Among the biggest prizes on offer are stakes of up to 25% in the state oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz, national airline Air Astana, state railways Temir Zholy and holdings in the nuclear, mining and electricity sectors. The government is strongly encouraging foreign companies to bid for these.

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[Philippines] Duterte urged to nationalize mining – by Thom F. Picana (The Manila Times – May 17, 2016)

BAGUIO CITY: Environmentalists and indigenous people in Northern Luzon are pushing presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to nationalize the mining industry “that prioritizes people over profit.”

Amianan Salakniban (Defend The North), through spokesperson Igorot leader Fernando Mangili, said Duterte could also work for the junking of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that severely affected the environment and the people for over two decades.

Indigenous peoples in the North believe that, “Land is Life… Nobody can own what can outlive us,” hence, “it is our responsibility to the future generations that they can still breathe the same fresh air we breathe today.”

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