Barely a year after it was established, Twiga Minerals Corporation has demonstrated the value-creating capacity of a true partnership between a mining company and its host nation, Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow has stated.
Twiga is a joint venture between Barrick and the Government of Tanzania, and oversees the management of Barrick’s assets in the country as well as the implementation of the economic benefit-sharing agreement.
It was formed when Barrick took over the operations of the former Acacia Mining in September last year and subsequently entered into a framework agreement with the government. In terms of the agreement, Barrick will pay the government $300 million to settle past disputes with Acacia.
In addition to the first $100 million tranche of the settlement, Barrick’s assets in Tanzania have since paid more than $200 million to the government in taxes and royalties, and last week Twiga declared a maiden interim dividend of $250 million.
“The fact that so much value has been delivered in such a short time is a tribute to the power of what I believe is the first partnership of its kind in Africa.
“With the framework agreement now fully implemented, we have settled most of the landowner disputes and are well on our way to ensure that we are fully compliant with our environmental permits as well as with the government’s local content legislation,” Bristow said.
“A rehabilitated and re-energized North Mara is ahead of plan in the year to date and Bulyanhulu has resumed underground mining operations and is scheduled to restart processing of underground ore by the end of 2020 as a long-life underground mine.
“We are gearing up to potentially make North Mara and Bulyanhulu into a combined Tier One complex, capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years in the lower half of the industry’s cost profile. We shall also be looking to expand the life of operations as well as other new Tanzanian opportunities within the Twiga framework.”
Barrick has been awarded 10 new exploration licenses in Tanzania and plans to spend $8 million on exploration there this year.
The company’s commitment to stakeholder partnership encompasses its host communities and a community development committee has already been established at North Mara.
On the environmental front, a comprehensive water management plan is being implemented. Since Barrick assumed operational control in 2019 some 50% of the water in the North Mara tailings dam has been removed to date.