28/01/2020 - 15:13

Tanzania-Barrick deal lifts export ban

28/01/2020 - 15:13

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Barrick Gold has resolved a three-year tax dispute with the Tanzanian government, which has lifted a ban on minerals exports, potentially providing a pathway to production for a contingent of Western Australia-headquartered miners and exploration firms.

Tanzania-Barrick deal lifts export ban
Barrick Gold acquired its Tanzanian operations through its Acacia Mining takeover last year.

Barrick Gold has resolved a three-year tax dispute with the Tanzanian government, which has lifted a ban on minerals exports, potentially providing a pathway to production for a contingent of Western Australia-headquartered miners and exploration firms.

Barrick announced on Friday its Tanzanian operations, acquired through the takeover of London-based Acacia Mining last year, were back in business after the Tanzanian government lifted the ban.

A joint venture has now been formed between the Tanzanian government and Barrick, which chief executive Mark Bristow said would give the government full visibility of and participation in project operating decisions.

The deal is expected to provide certainty for several WA-based companies pursuing minerals projects in Tanzania.

WA-based businesses active in the country include West Perth-based EcoGraf, Black Rock Mining, Cradle Resources, Volt Resources and OreCorp.

EcoGraf, formerly Kibaran Resources, is seeking to develop its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania in addition to its proposed battery graphite operations in Perth.

The company said in an ASX announcement today the deadlock between Barrick Gold and the Tanzanian government had delayed the development of the Epanko project for two and a half years.

“The company has consistently worked with (financiers) KfW IPEX-Bank and engaged the government on resolution of the legislative issues impacting international financing of mineral projects in Tanzania,” EcoGraf said.

The company recently completed a bankable feasibility study for the Epanko project, led by GR Engineering Services, which has confirmed the project will generate an annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $US44.5 million ($A65.8 million) and pre-tax net profit of $US211 million ($A312 million).

EcoGraf said it had been working with KfW IPEX-Bank and a second financial institution to progress the senior debt financing of the Epanko mine, and was preparing a $US60 million ($A88.8 million) senior debt funding proposal.

Volt Resources today also announced it had launched a funding process in Mauritius to raise capital to develop a graphite operation in Tanzania.

The company is seeking to raise an initial $US15 million ($22 million) by way of loan notes, with an option to raise an additional $US15 million on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius' Development and Enterprise Market.

Volt's offer will close on February 20, with the first trading of notes expected on February 26.

Chief executive Trevor Matthews said the funds would enable Volt to begin developing its Bunyu graphite operation in southern Tanzania, which includes a 400,000 tonne per annum concentration plant and associated infrastructure.

Mr Matthews said the funds would also go towards resettling people currently farming or living within the project area.

"We are pleased to move quickly following listing approval for this Mauritian note issue, and our advisers have worked hard to establish a solid network of potential investors," he said.

"Volt has generated significant interest as the first resources company to undertake a note issuance on the SEM, and we are now focused on advancing this funding process in the near term."

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