Friday, 03 June 2016 14:24
ON Tuesday this week, the shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Parliament of Tanzania, Reverend Peter Msigwa, lambasted Acacia Mining in the ongoing National Assembly meeting in Dodoma, stating that the company had been dishonest in their dealings with Bismarck Hotels (Mining) Limited, a Mwanza-based local mining company.
The MP further stated that Acacia had somehow colluded with certain officials of dubious probity at the Ministry of Energy & Minerals in order to get their support for the Big Miner’s “suppression of small Tanzania mining companies!”
In this, the highly-respected Parliamentarian from the political Opposition ranks was referring to the ongoing saga involving Acacia Mining Plc (Acacia Mining) and its erstwhile partner in a joint venture, Bismarck Hotels (Mining) Limited (Bismarck), dating back to a little more than a decade ago!
In July 1995, Bismarck entered into several joint venture agreements in gold mining with Pangea Minerals Limited – which was, at that time, 100 per cent fully owned by Acacia Mining, formally operating in and from Tanzania as African Barrick Gold (ABG).
In due course of time and events, however, Acacia Mining terminated the agreement in 2012, guaranteeing to return the land involved in the joint venture pact, together with all the geological data and allied reports.
Bismarck – naturally enough relying on the termination letter from Acacia Mining – went on to identify another partner, the overseas-based gold mining company MetGold, as a new suitable working partner.
However, the Tanzanian company was unable to deliver on its obligations to the new partner. This was basically because as Acacia Mining had lost some of the land which related to the earlier Pangea Minerals Joint Venture pact all of seven months before it had sent the termination letter to Bismarck!
To put this in perspective, the licence in question expired on May 17, 2011. According to the Tanzania Mining Act of 2010, licence renewal application had to be submitted within four months i.e. by September 17, 2011.
As it so happened, however, that date fell on a Saturday, which is a rest day for Government officials in Tanzania. In the event, the subject renewal application date was moved to Monday, September 19, 2011.
In any case, Acacia Mining never applied for renewal of the mining land that Monday. In the event, the miner was thus automatically excluded from the allocation processes – with the land being allocated to another applicant. In this way, Bismarck lost out in the Pangea/Acacia Mining partnership for no fault of theirs!
It thus came as no surprise, then, that the Reverend Peter Msigwa, speaking in the Tanzania Parliament this week as the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, openly blamed Acacia Mining for “acting dishonestly and mistreating Tanzanian companies and citizens!”
Some analysts are of the view that such a direct attack made on a London-listed Company, Acacia Mining Plc – an offshoot of the Canadian Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold producer – could very well also reverberate in the UK Parliament!
Sources working out of London have also confirmed that Acacia Mining’s appointed adjudicator in the matter between Acacia and Bismarck, Karel Daele of Mishcon de Reya Ltd., a London-based law firm,” did not act ethically by disclosing a conflict of interest – and, as such, should never have accepted his appointment as Adjudicator!
In any case, Acacia Mining should not have nominated him for that sensitive, highly-charged and protracted task in the first place! After all, Acacia Mining knew, or were in a position to know, that Karel Daele was a partner at the Dar es Salaam-based Mkono & Company-Advocates, a Tanzanian legal firm acting for Acacia Mining!
This in itself tends to ‘paint’ Acacia Mining as being able, ready and willing to resort to any all means – be they fair and not so fair – in self-serving efforts to control the events and outcome relating to the adjudication involving the two former partners-in-mining investments!
The source has further confirmed that the London-based Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom, the UK Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman in the UK have all been informed of, and alerted to, Acacia Mining’s disingenuous attempts at influencing outcomes.
Bismarck has of recent added other Legal Experts to its illustrious team of lawyers, the Tanzania-based activist Tundu Lissu and Law Associates, as well as an unnamed European arbitration expert.