Tanzania lifts ban on Acacia gold exports from North Mara mine

The Tanzanian government has lifted a ban on Acacia Mining exporting gold from its flagship mine, although the long-running dispute is set to continue after the country’s mining commission said it found regulation breaches at the North Mara mine.

The gold miner was handed the ban a month ago but must now submit a new feasibility study report and mine plan by the end of the week for approval by the Ministry of Minerals.

“We saw the previous suspension of exports from North Mara as a measure aimed at pressuring Acacia to recommend any proposal put forward by Barrick for the minority shareholding of Acacia,” said Peel Hunt mining analysts.

After a prolonged period of bad-tempered negotiations, Acacia last month accepted Barrick’s improved offer for the remaining 36.1% of Acacia’s shares it did not hold.

Prior to the deal, Barrick had taken over as chief negotiator for Acacia in its two-year long dispute with Tanzania relating to an enormous US$190 billion tax bill and subsequent gold export ban, separate to the one that has just been lifted.

Since President John Magufuli’s election in 2015, Tanzania has increased its interventions in the mining and agriculture sectors, in a shift towards resource nationalism.

Last month the World Bank said that Tanzania’s economy grew by 5.2% last year, lower than the 7% rise Magufuli’s government had claimed. The bank cited a decline in investment, export and private lending.