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ACACIA Mining said yesterday it has been fined 300m- over allegations of breaching environmental regulations at its North Mara mine.
Majority-owned by Canada’s Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold company, Acacia said its North Mara mine is “currently assessing the technical basis of the alleged non-compliances.”
It noted it has not yet received any supporting reports, findings or testing data in relation to alleged discharges of a hazardous substance at the mine site, adding it’s currently assessing the technical basis of such claims.
“Acacia said it has not yet received any supporting reports, findings or testing data in relation to the alleged discharge of a hazardous substance at its North Mara mine.”
The gold mining company also said the alleged environmental violations could relate to a long-standing seepage at the base of the tailings storage facility at North Mara, an issue apparently “well-known” by both the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and the Tanzanian government.
“This seepage remains managed by pumps which return the water to the tailings storage facility and it is, therefore, contained on the mine site, does not flow into the surrounding environment or present a risk of contamination to any public water source,” it said in the statement.
“The mine has not yet received any supporting reports, findings or testing data,” Acacia said in a press statement posted on its website.
The mining company said it has been asked verbally to build a new tailings storage facility (TSF), a structure for storing uneconomical ore, but had not yet received a written notice from the government.
“Acacia expects that a new TSF is likely to be an economically viable alternative to further expansions of the existing TSF at the mine,” the company said.
The company’s North Mara mine, where operations remain unaffected, received an Environmental Protection Order (EPO).
Although the National Environment Management Council found discharges of a hazardous substance at the mine, the company said it was unaware of it and was awaiting a detailed report.
Acacia is in the middle of a prolonged spat with the government over a $190 billion tax bill, which has severely limited the Londonlisted company’s operations.
The Barrick Gold-owned company has been accused of tax evasion by the government, which charged three of its local subsidiaries, an employee and a former staffer for money laundering and tax evasion last year.
The Company operates three mines in northwest Tanzania-Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and North Mara.
The news come only two days after the government appointed a new mining minister, Dotto Biteko, the third one to take on the role since President John Magufuli was elected in 2015.