Response to Allegations on Gold/Copper Concentrate Exports
28 Mar 2017
Over the past 3 weeks, since the unanticipated announcement on 2nd March of restrictions on the sale and export of Acacia’s gold/copper concentrate products, a great deal of misinformation and inaccurate speculation has appeared in the media. To date, we have chosen not to publically respond, with our focus on seeking to agree a way forward with the Government. However, given the level of misinformation and inaccurate speculation, and the potential reputational and financial harm to the Company, to our employees and to Tanzania, we have decided to confirm Acacia’s position on a number of issues.
Acacia strongly denies the allegations made over the weekend during the inspection of containers at the Tanzanian Port Authority (TPA) that we are attempting to export gold/copper concentrates in spite of the announced restrictions. Since the directive restricting exports, neither Acacia nor our customers have attempted to export our gold / copper concentrates.
Before the announcement of the export restrictions, the 256 containers now held at ZamCargo (previously known as Mofed, Customs Freight Services, CFS) had already been transported from Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi, and the 21 containers at Dar es Salaam port had already been cleared by Tanzanian Customs and were awaiting shipment. The Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA) and Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) are both involved in the process of exporting our concentrates.
Acacia has been exporting concentrate from Bulyanhulu since 2001 and from Buzwagi since 2010 with all associated gold, copper and silver revenue declared. The concentrate revenue is also included in our royalty payment declarations and income tax returns to the TRA. Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi are lawfully permitted under Tanzanian law to sell their gold/copper concentrate products to overseas customers and to export the concentrate in containers, and have been in full compliance with these laws and their export permits.
Everything we do in this regard is verified by the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA). Every shipping container of concentrate is sampled under supervision by both the TMAA and SGS so that both Acacia and the Government can accurately estimate the amount of the gold, copper and silver contained in it. The results of this extensive sampling process are then shared amongst the TMAA, TRA, Acacia and the smelting facility in order to determine the royalty that is payable ahead of transport.
It is only when the sampling process is complete, and the royalty has been paid to the Government, that the containers are locked under official seal by the TMAA, MEM and TRA, and our gold/copper concentrate product can leave the mine sites. The containers are then transported by truck to the TRA Customs office in Isaka where final export documentation is issued by both MEM and TRA and containers verified for transport onto Dar es Salaam port. After all documentation is checked and approved by Customs officials, each container is scanned at the Port by the TRA and Customs to verify that they do not contain anything apart from our gold/copper concentrate products. The containers are then held in port under supervision of Customs for final loading onto ships for export to customers.
Acacia remains prepared to partner with the Government to examine the possibility of viable smelting capability in Tanzania that provides employment and develops industry further. Technological developments may provide the key to this capability.
At this stage, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi have continued to operate post the restrictions and produce gold/copper concentrate which is being securely stored at the mine site. This cannot be indefinite due to the importance of concentrate as revenue for the two mines.
Acacia fully supports the continued efforts of H.E. President John Pombe Magufuli to invest in the development of Tanzania through education, employment, and industrialisation. Acacia is a key employer in Tanzania currently providing jobs to over 5,000 employees and contractors directly and support a further 55,000 jobs in the economy as well as families and communities. Of the people Acacia employs, over 96% are Tanzanian. Our mines support extensive supply chains across the country primarily with local partners.
We continue to invite Government officials to visit our mines so that they can appreciate the process involved in producing, sampling and loading the gold/copper concentrate.