Tanzania fines Acacia Mining for breaching environmental regulations

11 January 2019 (Last Updated January 11th, 2019 12:17)

Tanzania has imposed a fine of TZS300m ($129,143) on Acacia Mining over allegations of violating environmental regulations at its North Mara mine.

Tanzania fines Acacia Mining for breaching environmental regulations
Acacia claims to have received a verbal instruction to build a new tailings storage facility. Credit: Wikimedia

Tanzania has imposed a fine of TZS300m ($129,143) on Acacia Mining over allegations of violating environmental regulations at its North Mara mine.

According to Acacia, the mine has not yet received any supporting reports, findings or testing data with regard to the matters mentioned in the Environmental Protection Order (EPO). The firm is presently reviewing the technical basis of the alleged non-compliances.

Acacia also noted it has been asked verbally to construct a new tailings storage facility (TSF), a structure for storing waste ore, but has not yet received any written notice from the government.

The firm has already recognised the need for additional tailings management and storage capacity to cover tailings production for the remainder of the mine’s lifespan.

Although the mine does not yet have detailed or completely costed plans or project schedules for the development of a new facility, Acacia expects a new TSF likely to be an economically viable alternative to further expansions of the existing TSF at the mine.

The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) reported findings on discharges of a hazardous substance at the mine.

The company stated: “We are awaiting NEMC’s detailed reports, findings and testing data in relation to this allegation but are not aware of any such discharge.  The Mine believes that these reports relate to a longstanding seepage issue at the base of the TSF, which is already well known to NEMC and the GoT.”

“We are awaiting NEMC’s detailed reports, findings and testing data in relation to this allegation but are not aware of any such discharge.”

The news comes two days after the appointment of new mining minister Dotto Biteko.

Acacia, which is owned by Barrick Gold, is also in the midst of a $190bn-tax-bill battle with the government, which has severely restricted its operations in the country.

Earlier this month, Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow expressed hope that the dispute would be resolved soon.

In 2018, the government charged three of Barrick Gold’s local subsidiaries, an employee and a former employee of money laundering and tax evasion.