The shipping of some 1,600 containers of concentrate stockpiled from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines resume in April. (Photo: Barrick Gold)

Barrick Gold Corp. has settled the majority of the North Mara legacy land claims and has paid the first tranche of the $300 million settlement it agreed to with the Tanzanian government to resolve the disputes it inherited from Acacia Mining.

The shipping of some 1,600 containers of concentrate stockpiled from the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines resumed in April and the first $100 million received from the sale has gone to the government, Barrick said. All material issues have been dealt with or are being finalized. This initial payment will be followed by five annual payments of $40 million each.

President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow said these events demonstrated the strength of the partnership the company forged earlier this year through the formation of the jointly owned Twiga Minerals Corp., which oversees the management of Barrick’s operations in the country.

At the same time, some 90% of the outstanding land claims at North Mara have been settled with payment scheduled to start May 25. The compensation process is being overseen by a committee representing Twiga, the government, the local authorities and the affected communities.

Barrick COO for Africa and Middle East Willem Jacobs said the basis of the settlement, which also provides for future claims, was produced during several weeks of close and constructive engagement between Twiga, the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Land, the local authorities and the community.

Operationally, since taking over North Mara, Barrick has focused on improving the mine’s water management with special emphasis on its tailings storage facility. Jacobs said Barrick’s intervention put an end to 15 years of poor water management on site and ensured that going forward its environmental risks are properly contained in line with the group’s best practice standards.

“This is a striking example of what a true partnership can achieve in building a sustainable business capable of creating long-term value for all stakeholders,” he said.