by Kevin Davids
Tanzania’s Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango, appointed two nationals to the Twiga Minerals Corporation Limited board, a joint firm established to operate the three mines which were previously operated by Acacia Mining.
Twiga was formed in January this year, after an agreement between the government and the Canadian gold giant Barrick Corporation, to settle all disputes between the government and the mining companies formerly operated by Acacia Mining – and now managed by Barrick. The statement issued yesterday by the ministry of Finance and Planning said the appointed members are Casmir Sumba Kyuki and Michael Jonathan Kambi. The two will represent the interests of the government, which owns 16 percent free carry shares of the company that will operate the three mines of Buzwagi, North Mara and Bulyanhulu.
Details obtained from different sources show that Mr Kyuki served as an executive secretary of law reform commission, and chairman of Unit Trust of Tanzania (UTT-AMIS) board. He was also a member of the Presidential Committee which investigate the Acacia Mining saga in 2017.
For his part, Mr Kambi is a seasoned financial expert with special focus on economic evaluation of extractive industries in Tanzania . He is the owner of KMC Associates, a consulting and accounting firm.
The statement said the appointments are effective from March 22 and the two will serve the positions in the next three years.
However, the statement did not mention the composition of Twiga Minerals board, or the number of members who represent Barrick Gold. Before the agreement, Acacia was accused of under-declaring its mineral exports and the government demanded $190 billion in unpaid taxes.
Barrick took over management of the mines after its buy-out of the Acacia Mining’s minority shares in September last year. The terms of the agreement included payment of $300 million to settle all outstanding tax and other claims and lifting the concentrates export ban.
It also directed the sharing of future economic benefits from the mines on a 50/50 basis and the establishment of a unique, Africa-focused international dispute resolution framework.
The agreement introduced a new era of productive partnership between Barrick and Tanzania by ensuring that Tanzanians would share fully in the value created by the mines they host.
“Rebuilding these operations after three years of value destruction will require a lot of work, but the progress we’ve already made will be greatly accelerated by this agreement,” said Mr Mark Bristow, president and chief executive off Barrick Gold Corporation, after the Twiga announcement in October last year.
“Twiga, which will give the government full visibility of and participation in operating decisions made for and by the mines, represents our new partnership not only in spirit but also in practice.”
Mr Bristow also noted that Twiga takes a leaf out of Barrick’s operational book, replacing expats with locals – something Barrick has done at its operations across the continent.