Editor’s Note: February 13, 2019
Is the mining industry crying wolf?
Acacia Mining, Tanzania’s biggest gold miner, this week reported a $59m profit for 2018.
This comes despite a bitter dispute with the government. In 2017 authorities introduced a ban on unprocessed gold and copper exports, and slapped Acacia with a $190bn tax bill. This contributed to a $707m loss in 2017.
Acacia’s troubles are part of rising resource nationalism.
Last year Democratic Republic of Congo hiked royalties in a new mining code, with Zambia also increasing taxes. Last week Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo called on governments to stop offering ‘unusual’ tax and royalty incentives, warning miners not to expect “extraordinary profits” in Africa.
Underpinning this is the perception that miners have been getting too good a deal for too long.
The industry is not happy, and has repeatedly warned that these changes threaten the viability of their operations – the implication being that there’s no room for a bigger government share.
Acacia’s profit suggests otherwise. If anyone should be losing money due to resource nationalism it’s the London-listed company. It’s also noteworthy that Canada’s First Quantum has backed down from threatened job cuts in Zambia, while plans to take DRC’s government to court have not materialized.
This doesn’t mean all is well, but it suggests that the standoff is not a zero-sum game.
From The Continent
Uganda plans to launch a new platform allowing users with mobile money accounts to buy government debt. This is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on commercial banks and institutional investors. More: Reuters
South Africa’s biggest trade union group, COSATU, is embarking on a nationwide strike today expected to affect eight cities. This comes amid growing tension between workers and the government over plans to reform the country’s state-run companies, particularly struggling power utility Eskom. More: Bloomberg
The Daily Stat
Nigeria’s GDP growth in 2018, the most since 2015. More: Bloomberg
The Global Perspective
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has accused NGOs of destabilizing Zimbabwe in a show of support for its embattled president Emmerson Mnangagwa. This comes after a deadly crackdown on anti-austerity protests that has caused international criticism of the government. More: The East African
Chad’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said an airstrike carried out by French troops on suspected rebels last week was to prevent a coup against the country’ president Idriss Deby. France is taking a leading role in efforts to counter militant groups in the Sahel region. More: Reuters