Tanzania has demonstrated that it will not spare cash-flush multinational mining giants in its drive to target foreign companies that it views do not comply with new mining regulations. The country’s Mining Commission has revoked a retention mining licence two blue chip miners, Barrick Gold Corp and London-listed, Glencore Plc, jointly hold.
Barrick and Glecore hold the retention licence for an undeveloped Kabanga nickel project in northwestern Tanzania, which is among 11 retention licences cancelled by the government under the Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations of 2018, which were approved in January.
“The Mining Commission would like to inform all owners of retention licences that the licences have been cancelled,” commissions chairman, Idris Kikula, said in a statement.
Barrick Gold Corp and Glencore Plc which own the 50-50 joint venture project were not immediately available for comment. Their licence was due to expire in May 2019.
Barrick and Glencore have held the licence for the project since 2009, which is estimated to have inferred resource of 36.3 million tonnes, grading 2.8 percent nickel.
It is a case of never rains but pours for the Canadian miner, Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s biggest gold producer. Barrick, the majority shareholder of London-listed Acacia Mining Plc, has a pending tax evasion dispute with the Tanzanian government over alleged undervaluation of mineral exports.
Other retention licences cancelled by the mining commission target other nickel, gold, silver, copper and rare earth exploration companies.
Retention licences were previously granted for a period not exceeding five years, which was renewable.
Under legislation passed last July, the mining commission has been given extensive powers to regulate and monitor the mining industry and mining operations in Tanzania.