Barrick Gold (GOLD) is exploring its options for its stake in Acacia Mining, including a possible sale, in a bid to end a protracted dispute with Tanzanian tax authorities that has effectively prevented the company from expanding its operations in the country, Reuters reported.
The dispute started when the Tanzanian government imposed a $190 billion tax bill on Acacia in March 2017. Several months later, Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and Tanzanian President John Magufuli agreed that Acacia would pay the government $300 million and 16% ownership and split the economic benefits of its mines.
In an interview with Reuters, Barrick Gold Chief Executive Mark Bristow said the company is looking at buying out the rest of Acacia that it does not already own, or it could split up the company, among other options it is considering.
“This conflict has destroyed lots of value. We need to make sure there’s enough value to work out a solution that various interested and affected parties get something that’s fair and proper for them,” Bristow said.
Bristow is also planning to automate and streamline both operations and management as well as attract younger, more technology-savvy talent, Reuters said.