Barrick’s Mark Bristow calls for “turnover in licences” after meeting with Tanzania President

Mark Bristow, CEO, Barrick Gold

BARRICK Gold CEO Mark Bristow said discovering more gold prospects in Tanzania depended on smooth regulatory and administrative processes in the country.

“We see the potential for more world-class gold discoveries here but in order to achieve exploration success we need to keep turning over our licences and assessing new ground,” he said shortly after a meeting with Tanzania’s president, Samia Suluhu Hassan.

“The process of acquiring new licences is ongoing,” he said.

Barrick shares the Twiga Minerals joint venture with the Tanzanian government following an agreement with Hassan’s predecessor, the late John Magufuli. This followed a drawn-out and sometimes bitter dispute between the government and the previous owner of the Tanzanian assets, Acacia Resources.

In 2019, Barrick agreed to form the Twiga Minerals 50:50 economic joint venture and pay the Tanzanian government $300m in a one-off settlement. In 2020, the government received more than $370m in cash inflows through taxes, dividends and the first $100m tranche of the settlement agreement.

The Tanzanian mines include Bulyanhulu and North Mara.

“I confirmed that Barrick was in Tanzania for the long term and that we’ll be using our North Mara-Bulyanhulu complex as the base for further investment in the country, which is highly prospective but still largely unexplored,” said Bristow of his meeting with President Hassan.

In February, Barrick reported full-year adjusted (for exceptional items) net earnings for 2020 of $1.15/share, a year-on-year increase of 125%. The earnings improvement was a result of higher realised gold and copper prices, the former averaging $1,778/oz (2019: $1,396/oz).