Acacia boss is getting frustrated waiting for Barrick Solution

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a year since Acacia Mining Plc’s majority shareholder started talks on its behalf to end a standoff with the Tanzanian government and interim Chief Executive Officer Peter Geleta is getting frustrated.

Barrick Gold Corp., which owns about 64 percent of London-based Acacia, last month withdrew a timetable to resolve the dispute with Tanzania, after previously indicating it would have a detailed proposal ready by mid-year. The talks include efforts to lift a ban on exports of mineral concentrates introduced by the government last March, which forced the company to stockpile output and curb production.

“Not being in the room is extremely frustrating,” Geleta said by phone Friday. “We’re obviously disappointed that the initial timetable given by Barrick has not been met.”

Shares in Acacia have lost 75 percent of their value since Tanzania introduced the metal-concentrate export ban, and relations soured further after the government slapped the miner with a $190 billion tax bill.

Still, Geleta said he’s confident that a solution will be found and reiterated the company’s commitment to Tanzania.

Acacia said earlier this year it had received approaches from Chinese companies interested in its assets in the country and had started talks with a handful of potential investors about a possible sale of a stake in one or more of its mines. There’s unlikely to be much progress on those talks or the company’s ambitions to expand elsewhere in Africa until there’s a resolution with the Tanzanian government, Geleta said.

(By Rupert Rowling)