Acacia bites back at Barrick as tensions rise ahead of takeover deadline

Embattled gold firm Acacia Mining has given a strong-worded response to a statement issued by its parent firm Barrick Gold regarding Acacia’s mining operations and its relationship with the Tanzanian government.

Acacia said its ‘strongly disagrees with a number of statements’ Barrick made and questioned the timing of the statement, on the day the gold giant was handed an extension to complete its all-share takeover of Acacia.

Barrick now has until July 9 to make a new bid for the 36.1% of shares it doesn’t own in its subsidiary. Barrick’s initial US$285 million offer for the remaining shares was dismissed by some Acacia shareholders who believed it undervalued the company.

Following the approval of the extension, Barrick released a detailed statement which included a due diligence into Acacia’s mining operations, in which a technical team ‘identified significant risks’ and ‘concluded that certain assumptions made by Acacia were not appropriately risked or supportable’.

The statement also underscored a complete breakdown in communications between Acacia and the government of Tanzania, with Barrick continuing to negotiate a resolution for a two-year dispute with the government on behalf of Acacia.

Meanwhile, Acacia’s activity in Tanzania has been thrown into further disrepute by a recent report in the Guardian, which implicated its North Mara mine as a place of extreme violence and environmental contamination.