It’s going from bad to worse for Acacia Mining.
The London-listed gold company has just been told it owes $190bn in unpaid taxes and penalties by the government of Tanzania.
The country’s President John Magufuli has accused the company of deliberately understating its exports to avoid paying royalties and other taxes.
Acacia has strongly denied the charges, saying that it has fully declared all revenues from its mines in the country.
Long story short. Acacia runs gold mines in Tanzania. Govt alleges – and a government committee has confirmed via analysis – that Acacia is grossly underestimating gold content of semi-processed ore it exports. Thus a tax bill for 2 centuries worth of gross revenue that Acacia reports.
This is a shakedown by Tanzanian govt. There is simply no way at all that there is the gold content being claimed. Quite apart from anything else, where the hell is the money going? For it’s most certainly not turning up in the company accounts. They’re also flat out wrong on their valuation method. Ore doesn’t pay out for what is in the ore, only for what is commercially extractable. So things like the level of Ytterbium are an irrelevance.
The thing is, such allegations won’t come from nowhere. My guess is that there’s an agitator, some NGO, behind this. Who, I have no idea.
Worth noting though that the basic claim about gross misinvoicing started with Alex Cobham, he’s now at TJN. He claimed some massive fraud by Glencore over copper exports from Zambia. He was wrong, grossly so. He was comparing the copper price of thousands of tonnes leaving Zambia with the price of the odd 10 kg sample leaving Switzerland. Entirely unaware that recorded customs prices include the cost of transport. And, yes, the cost of transport per kg for a shipload of copper is different from the cost per kg of transport of a sample by DHL.
This was followed by a UN look at South Africa’s mineral exports, entirely fucked up again by the committee. And now this in Tanzania.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know which NGO or adviser is behind this clusterfuck?