Acacia Mining CEO finally admits in public: “….. CRITICS MAY HAVE A VALID POINT”

 

This week at the Indaba 2017 Convention in Cape Town, Brad Gordon, the CEO of Acacia Mining, gave his speech and presentation.  We found a copy of the presentation on the Acacia Mining website.

Is Mr. Gordon finally waking up to the reality that Tanzanian’s are not as sleepy as he and Kelvin Dushnisky thought?  And all the Barrick Gold Board of Directors?  And all the Acacia Mining Board of Directors?  They all sit overseas in their posh offices earning hundreds of millions of US Dollars a year and they use all sorts of schemes not to pay their fair and legal taxes in Tanzania?

We are proud of our President, Dr. Magufuli, for standing up in public this past year and fighting the war on behalf of his Nation against corruption and fraud and tax evasion.  And make no mistake, President Magufuli has made his point publically and blatantly about Acacia Mining. Is that the reason that Acacia Mining is starting a process to run away from Tanzania and start mining in other African countries?
After all, according to the website of Tanzania’s Ministry of Mines, Acacia Mining have many dozens of mining licenses for new concessions.  Can it be that the concessions are all bad and useless and have no value?  Are all of the concessions so poor that Acacia must go buying into mining in Kenya, and Mali and Burkino Fasso?

Kelvin Dushnisky, the Chairman of Acacia Mining and the President of Barrick Gold, and all his colleagues, have all learned the hard way that the days of manipulating “the little Black man” are gone.  They are all shocked by President Magufuli’s courage and wisdom to protect his Nation by stopping the corruption, fraud and tax evasion.

Can you blame our President if he thinks the old fashion saying;
“I don’t know what’s worse: People who lie, or people who think I am stupid enough to believe their lies.”

Brad Gordon said in an interview in Cape Town that “… we need to look at the distribution of that wealth and how taxes are paid”.  What are we missing here?  Since when does our Government and the TRA (Revenue Authorities) need Acacia Mining to look at how taxes are paid?  And if Mr. Gordon intended that Acacia needs to look internally at how to pay their taxes, that is even worse because for better or worse, Acacia must pay taxes according to TRA demands.  Whatever way you choose to understand Mr. Gordon’s statement, it is a disgrace and a slap in our Governments face.

We see here what hypocrites these Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining people really are.  Look at these double standards using the Acacia presentation on their website:
(The cherry on the top comes at the end…)

On page 4, Acacia writes about “Our Strategy” and they claim that they work towards zero harm; additional focus on Government dialogue; delivery on community commitments; enhanced public relations profile.

How deceitful can Mr. Gordon be?  Is this the same company who has been reported for murder, rape, environment destruction, corruption, tax evasion, fraud and the list goes on?  How can Acacia claim all the above when the reality is out in the public domain and the truth is quite the opposite of their claims?

On page 5, Acacia writes about “Our Operating Philosophy” and they claim that they create a sustainable competitive advantage based on core competencies and that they will never outsource Government and community relationships.

It is clear to us Tanzanians that Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold will do whatever it takes to create your competitive edge – at any cost, regardless if legal or if you need some corrupt assistance like the media reported about the corruption investigation ongoing with Acacia and one or more officials in the Ministry of Mines who allegedly acted for Acacia against a local company called Bismark Mining & Hotel.

Now let’s look at what Acacia writes on this page that they “will never outsource Government and community relationships”.
Is this a joke? Or sarcasm? Or an insult to our President?
The two things Acacia desperately needs in Tanzania are relationships with our Government and with our communities (around Acacia operations).

So, Mr. Gordon, you clearly need to replace all your senior staff at your Dar offices since they are obviously making a total mess. And your top “Mr. Fix-it” (as people in your Dar office call him) urgently needs to be replaced as he is causing more trouble in Tanzania than you realize (whilst you and Mr. Kelvin Dushnisky sit overseas in your offices).

Therefore, your statement about “never outsource….” needs to be reversed and you should immediately appoint a local Tanzanian specialist company to provide “relationship” services to Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold.

Oh, we almost forgot about your announcement this week that you plan to spend about US$ 2 million on a campaign in Tanzania, in print, radio and television, to boost and improve the Acacia Mining name and image and reputation.

Needless to say that in the near future, you will add this US$ 2 million to your total that you “invested in Tanzania” and then you will brag to the world how much money Acacia contributes to the economy here.

But in fact, you are wasting your US$ 2 million.  The People don’t need to hear more blah-blah words and see propaganda pictures.
We want to watch you pay your taxes and export royalties legally and morally without any “changes” to the mixture of copper and gold in the mining sand.
We want to see that you stop destroying our environment.
We want to know that you are fighting corruption and not feeding it.

Stop with the problems and fix your relationship with our Government.
What is so difficult about that?  You can cancel your US$ 2 million campaign – it is unnecessary.  Your actions speaks louder than your words.
Barrick Gold messed up in Tanzania.  Acacia Mining inherited the Barrick mess and added to the mess. Start a fresh page and fix all the mess and move onwards with a new start which will surely rally the support of the Government and the People behind you. So what if it costs you money and your profits are less for a year or two but then after that, you will fly in Tanzania!

On page 7, Acacia writes more about “Relationships – Mining & Governments” and that Acacia needs to address misconceptions about the mining industry and Acacia continues with the following that can only be defined as fantasy fanfare:
>>   …. a lack of trust between mining companies and Governments
>>   …. lack of communication led to an ‘imagination gap’ between the realities faced by mining operations and the perceptions of Government
>>   …. need a fresh approach to re-boot these relationships
>>   …. need to address misconceptions about the mining industry and the cycle of mistrust needs to be broken and a shared narrative developed

What misconceptions is Acacia Mining referring to?
Is murder not murder?
Is rape not rape?
How terrible must environment damage be before it is called what it really is?
Is there a legal kind of corruption and fraud?
Are Tanzanian’s all so dense and dimwitted that all the crimes and deceit that we are exposed to on Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining’s part, are ALL MISCONCEPTIONS?   Is this yet another insult and slap in our President’s face and indeed in the faces of all Tanzanians?  In fact, is it not true that Acacia holds the “cycle of trust” in their hands to fix?

The Tanzania Nation will agree you need to re-boot your relationship and you need to do it urgently.  Start with our President first.  But pay all your taxes before you ask for a meeting.

On page 9, Acacia writes more about “Highlighting our contribution” and they are quick to state that over US$3 billion of capital invested into Tanzania in the last 15 years and they built three mines and expanded a fourth.
Sadly, Acacia are not quick to include how badly their mother company, Barrick Gold manipulated and abused the Tanazania mining system in 2013 by closing down the Tulawaka Mine and transferring it to Stamico (Tanzania’s State Mining Corporation).

In doing so, Barrick Gold weaseled and slithered (in the lowest sense possible) themselves away from the complete responsibility of the full rehabilitation of the mine and the surrounding area of land.  It was public knowledge how terribly Barrick Gold exploited the weaknesses and flaws in the system (should we go down the road of corruption here as well?)

The bottom line was that Barrick Gold walked away from the Tulawaka Mine, laughing all the way to the bank.  Is this not an insult of the highest degree that this disgusting Tulawaka scandal by Barrick Gold is included in this “highlighting our contribution”? Talk about laughing in our faces!?

On page 10, Acacia writes about “Aligning with Government aims” and they have the audacity to include the words:  Free from corruption.  Really? Seriously?
Any Google research of tax evasion shows that corruption and tax evasion are coupled together.  There are multiple millions of links in Google that highlight this point.
Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining – “Free from corruption”? Astounding that they can even write these words!  Twice, within 6 months last year, Barrick – Acacia were found guilty of tax evasion.

On page 11, Acacia writes about “Creating high-tech hubs” and they are proud to state that every year they move over 40 million tonnes of earth and they utilise the best global technology to make this happen.  In addition, they claim their mines are as advanced as any mine in the world.

Frankly, who could possibly doubt this?  After all, they list above over US$3 billion of capital invested into Tanzania in the last 15 years. Probably close to all that money has been for Barrick Gold (Acacia Mining) and they have to impress their shareholders who demand dividends, so?

Is Acacia Mining to be complimented for achieving this? Should less be expected?

Finally, on page 13, they write “Aiming to create Sustainable Communities” and they continue declaring that their goal is to create communities that enjoys good access to strategic social infrastructure such as health services, water and sanitation and education.  Does Acacia Mining have no shame to write about water (amongst other factors) where they know that the North Mara mine is a huge problem for water in the region but they successfully swept this under the carpet.  (Is this more “free from corruption”?)

Anyone researching North Mara water will see water problems going back many, many years!  But let’s try be objective and look only at the past 12 months.

In January and February 2016, the media reported that due to complaints from communities around North Mara mine, the Government were investigating the water and they wanted proof via testing that the water was safe.  Even Deputy Environment Minister Luhaga Mpina personally took a leading part in the investigation. What results from water testing?
Nothing!  All swept under the carpet.

One of our group contacted Dep. Minister Mpina directly to ask for the progress of the testing.
Nothing!  All swept under the carpet.  (Is this more “free from corruption”?)

However, on 3 May 2016, a laboratory testing report was published on behalf of the National Ground Water Association regarding the North Mara water.  Very briefly, as a summary, the report stated:
>>  Eleven trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) were determined, and averages of Fe and Al concentrations were higher than levels accepted by the Tanzanian drinking water guideline.
>>  Levels of Pb in three samples were higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) drinking water guidelines of 10 and 15 µg/L, respectively.
>>  One sample contained a higher As level than the WHO and USEPA guideline of 10 µg/L.
>>  Analysis confirmed a relationship between element concentration and distance of a sampling site from the mine tailings dam. This relationship raises concerns about the increased risks of trace elements to people and ecosystem health.
>>  A metal pollution index also suggested a relationship between elemental concentrations in the groundwater and the sampling sites’ proximity from the mine tailings dam.

On 20 June 2016, this writer contacted Dep. Minister Mpina again.  This time, the question was regarding the TSh 40 million fines that Dep Minister Mpina was involved in issuing in January 2016 for companies breaching environment management laws and regulations.  Dep Minister shrugged off the question and simply answered “Thanx Samantha NEMC will respond accordingly”.
Nothing!  All swept under the carpet.

On 18 July 2016, the media reported that residents in communities around the region near the Acacia North Mara Gold Mine still insisted that the water was not safe for human consumption.
After that… Nothing!  All swept under the carpet.

We are now one year past Dep Minister Mpina’s on site investigation where he took water samples.  And no solution to this ever surfaced. And the risk and danger still remains for the women, men, elderly, children and their animals and cattle in communities around the region near the Acacia North Mara Gold Mine – and we did not even raise the danger factors for the fish and water fauna and flora in the rivers and streams in that region.

As much as our President Magufuli is busy and under pressure with managing our country’s affairs, we hope the President will agree that this is a matter of possible fraud and corruption for the PCCB to investigate.
More important, our People around North Mara mine need genuine clean water.

So it is not hard to understand the extent of deceit and double standards on the part of Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining when they declare publically “aiming to create Sustainable Communities that enjoys good access to water and sanitation!

If all of the above is not enough to raise the hairs at the back of your necks, then the following may well make you fall off your chairs!
The following must be the height of disingenuousness, hypocrisy and deception in what they write in this same presentation to the Indaba earlier this week:

On page 2 of the presentation, the following extracts appears regarding the contents of the presentation (that we analyzed above) and which was presented publically by Brad Gordon in Cape Town:
>>  Neither Acacia Mining nor any of its directors, officers, partners, employees, affiliates, agents, consultants, advisors or representatives has verified, or will verify, any part of this presentation……
>>  Acacia Mining nor any of its Associates makes any warranty, express or implied, as to the fairness, adequacy, accuracy or completeness of the information in this presentation……
>>  The information or opinions contained in this presentation or any written or oral information made available to any person does not purport to be comprehensive and has not been independently verified.

And they go on…. Telling us that whatever their presentation states is not verified by anyone and it might not be true.  What can we comment about the double standards of such people?  Are there words for people who publically make statements and then in the same breath say that these statements may not be true?
Does it get any worse than this?  Maybe the worse to still to come?

Acacia Mining and Endeavour Mining both confirmed they are in merger talks.  We already wrote a blog about “Ni bora shetani unaemjua kuliko shetani usiemjua – Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know!”
We wonder if the US$2 million campaign that Acacia Mining are planning to boost their image and reputation, will they include the fact that the USA Government has recently instructed the FBI to investigate the UraMin scandal involving alleged fraud of well over US$ 1 billion – and surprise surprise – the CEO of Endeavour Mining today, Mr. Sébastien de Montessus, was the past CEO and President of this same UraMin mining company!  Is this the quality of “leader” that Acacia Mining chooses to bring to our gold-rich country?

We asked this question in our blog last week and it still bothers us:  Can it be that the God-given gold in our country is a magnet for these “types” of people?

Mr. President, our thanks for your hard work and God bless you and God bless Tanzania and God bless our Nation.

Samantha Cole

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