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Acacia seeks independent mineral probe

Acacia seeks independent mineral probe

Acacia Mining wants an independent committee to be set up to investigate the value of minerals in concentrates in its shipment.

It has disagreed with a report by President John Magufuli's team which found the value of minerals within concentrates in containers in Dar es Salaam Port was not fully declared.

Acacia investor relations manager Giles Blackham said in a statement that due to the magnitude of the discrepancy it was important for an independent team to be formed to investigate the value of minerals in the concentrates.

Mr Blackham said Acacia's data of more than 20 years cannot reconcile with the presidential committee's findings.

According to Mr Blackham, the data, which has been compiled and analysed by Tanzanian and international experts and organisations, has shown consistent results.

The independently verified data, Mr Blackham said, had consistently shown the gold content of the concentrates is less than one tenth of the presidential committee's findings.

Acacia believes that if the committee's findings were based on accurate data, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi would be the world's two largest gold producers.

"We have requested but have not yet received a copy of the full report as well as details of the sampling protocol followed by the committee," read the statement in part.

According to Mr Blackham, since 1977 more than 215,000 drill samples have been taken by Tanzanian geological teams just at Bulyanhulu, for many different exploration and mining companies and analysed and verified by testing laboratories in Tanzania and overseas.

He further said none of the findings made by those companies based on the analysis of those more than 215,000 drill samples were consistent with the committee's findings based on its samples from around 44 of the 277 containers of concentrates at the Dar es Salaam Port.

Acacia does not understand the committee's findings and believes they contain significant discrepancies compared with all previous data analysed.

"If the committee's findings are accurate, the many different companies, geological teams and testing laboratories involved at Bulyanhulu since 1977 and at Buzwagi since the 1990s have failed to properly sample, test and report on the grades of gold in the ground, and their gold/copper/silver production over these periods," the statement further indicates.

Mr Blackham insisted that concentrates exports were done in full compliance with Tanzanian law and contracts.

He reiterated that the combined direct impact of the ban on concentrates export is the average daily loss of revenues of more than US$1 million. "As a result, we are considering all of our options."

The committee, which presented its report to President Magufuli on Wednesday, reported that it discovered an average of 1,400 grammes of gold per tonne within concentrates in containers while the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency indicated an average of only 200 grammes.

The committee also reported disparities in copper and silver ratios, while no royalty was paid for other compounds like iron, sulphur, rhodium, iridium and lithium despite their being smelted from the concentrates.

The team stated that Acacia had not fully declared minerals contained in the concentrates.

It recommended that the ban on export of mineral concentrates be maintained until the issue was resolved.

In March, President Magufuli directed that 277 containers of mineral concentrates that were set to be shipped out be held at the Dar es Salaam Port pending the verification of minerals they contained.

Dr Magufuli appointed two committees to investigate the matter.

The first committee, made up of academics and industry professionals, investigated contents of the concentrates in containers and presented its report to the Head of State on Wednesday.

The second team, which comprises economists and lawyers, focused on the economic impact of exporting the concentrates, but has yet to present its findings.
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