Barrick granted ten exploration licences in Tanzania


May 9, 2009
Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD) said on Friday it has been granted 10 new exploration licenses in Tanzania, where it was until recently locked in a long-dragged out conflict over taxes and mine ownership for almost three years.

The Toronto-based miner, which operates three mines in the African country through Twiga Minerals, added it would spend $8 million carrying out exploration in Tanzania this year.

Twiga Minerals was born last year after Barrick and Tanzania reached an agreement that made the gold giant pay $300 million to settle outstanding tax and other disputes.

The deal also included the lifting of a concentrate export ban and the sharing of future economic benefits from Barrick’s operations in the country on a 50-50 basis.

“We are gearing up to potentially make North Mara and Bulyanhulu into a combined Tier One complex, capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years in the lower half of the industry’s cost profile,” chief executive officer Mark Bristow said in the statement.

Barrick’s boss did not mention any plans for the company’s third operation in the country — Buzwagi gold mine.

It did note it would look into expanding the mine life of its assets in Tanzania, as well as other opportunities it may arise within the Twiga framework.

Minerals make up the majority of Tanzania’s exports and are a key source of foreign exchange for Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer.

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