Government, TanzaniteOne to end ownership talks soon

Mr Mpungwe
Talks between TanzaniteOne and the government over the surrendering of the firm’s 50 per cent stake to comply with the new Mining Act are scheduled for completion at the end of the month, the company said.

The biggest tanzanite mining firm in the world, which is a subsidiary of Richland Resources, described the talks as cordial, going on well and expected to end up amicably. 

TanzaniteOne Executive Chairman, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe told the ‘Daily News’ that the company has put on the table the fact that the Act came when TanzaniteOne was operational and is a listed firm.

“Our hope is that the talks will end up amicably by both parties considering the requirements of the new (Mining) Act and the existence of the firm before the Act,” Ambassador Mpungwe said over the phone. 

The government last month said it would not renew the firm’s licence until it comply with the new Act that required jewelry companies to be owned 50 per cent by locals.

The government, through the ministry of Energy and Minerals want TanzaniteOne to surrender its 50 per cent stake to State Mining Company (STAMICO) as conditionality to renew the miner license.

When contacted, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Eliakimu Maswi directed the paper to commissioner of minerals Ally Samaje whom the PS said was in a better position to update the firm’s status.

The commissioner could not be reached. But Mr Mpungwe said: “This is a listed company; you cannot just get hold of shares without thinking of the shareholders.”

He maintained that the firm’s desire to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange is still there since 2004.

“Some of our shareholders are institutional, like pension funds. You cannot just take their interest by a simple announcement,” the former ambassador added.

TanzaniteOne is listed at London Stock Exchange through its parent company, Richland Resources which also has interest in sapphire mine in Australia.

The new Mining Act of 2010 stipulates that gemstone mining, will be carried out exclusively by Tanzanians, except when it requires heavy investments and sophisticated technology.

The Act, however, also provides an opportunity for existing firms to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and float 50 per cent of their shares to Tanzanians in order for their gemstone mining licences to be renewed.

Early this year, the firm that mines tanzanite in the northern part of the country announced plans to list its 20 per cent on DSE in April in a bid to comply with set conditions for its operating licence to be renewed.

Meanwhile TanzaniteOne has said the government has granted it a temporary export permit pending an on going royalty payment investigation, which mineral auditors are reconciling various accounts to determine the actual paying figure.

The government barred the firm to export after smelling royalty payment irregularities.
Source: The Daily News,http://www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Abduel Elinaza in Dar es Salaam

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