Will the GOLD Merger Expedite the Tanzania Dispute’s Resolution?


Jan. 7 2019, Published 2:56 p.m. ET

Tanzanian tax dispute

One of the major overhangs on Barrick (GOLD) stock of late has been its subsidiary Acacia Mining’s issues with the Tanzanian government regarding taxes. The Tanzanian government banned mineral concentrate exports from the country in March 2017. It believed it wasn’t getting a fair share of profits from mining in the country.

On October 19, 2017, Barrick announced that it and the government had agreed on a framework for a new partnership between Acacia and the government. The partnership would include the sharing of economic benefits generated by Acacia on a 50-50 basis going forward. However, this framework has yet to be implemented, and the issues are still ongoing.

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Bristow on resolution

Mark Bristow, the CEO of the combined company, has expressed confidence that this conflict will be resolved. In a phone interview with Reuters, Bristow said that Barrick could buy the remainder of Acacia it doesn’t own or split the company among other options. He added, “This conflict has destroyed lots of value. We need to make sure there’s enough value to work out a solution that various interested and affected parties get something that’s fair and proper for them.”

Bristow’s experience to come in handy

Bristow has experience in resolving tax and other issues with governments in Africa. Lately, many miners (GDX) (NUGT) have been facing issues related to resource nationalism and governments demanding increased shares of mining from their countries in Africa. This phenomenon has also affected the likes of Kinross Gold (KGC) and Newmont Mining (NEM).

Barrick expects more details on the resolution of the Tanzanian issue in the second week of February. In addition to a possible resolution, the company is expected to see a lot of other changes in February. It’s also reviewing the possible sale of a number of assets, and it could even acquire new assets.

We’ll discuss more about these changes and other portfolio restructuring initiatives in the next article.


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