Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) has been granted 10 new exploration licenses in Tanzania, where, until recently, it was locked in a three-year conflict over taxes and mine ownership.
The Toronto-based miner, which operates three mines in the African country through Twiga Minerals, added it would spend US$8 million carrying out exploration in Tanzania this year.
Twiga Minerals was born last year after Barrick and Tanzania reached an agreement where the company would pay $300 million to settle disputes over taxes and other issues.
The deal also included the lifting of a concentrate export ban and the sharing of future economic benefits from Barrick’s operations in the country on a 50-50 basis.
“We are gearing up to potentially make North Mara and Bulyanhulu into a combined Tier One complex, capable of producing at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years in the lower half of the industry’s cost profile,” chief executive Mark Bristow said in a statement.
Barrick’s did not mention any plans for the Buzwagi gold mine, the company’s third operation in the country.
The company said it would look into expanding the mine life of its assets in Tanzania, as well as other opportunities that may arise within the Twiga framework.
Minerals make up the majority of Tanzania’s exports and are a key source of foreign exchange for Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer.