Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 May 2021:
Barrick Gold Corporation has confirmed that it had referred a tax claim by the Senegalese Revenue Authority (SRA) to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for arbitration, after numerous attempts to resolve the issue with the government had failed.
The SRA has levied an unaudited assessment totalling US$208 million (calculated as of March 31, 2021) for taxes it claims arose from Barrick’s sale of its interest in the Massawa project to Teranga Gold Corporation last year.
Barrick said the proposed assessment was not in accordance with its investment agreement and relevant legislation in place, and in order to resolve the dispute, Barrick has referred the matter to the ICC which is the dispute resolution forum provided for in its agreement with the State of Senegal.
The arbitration process will start when the SRA has appointed its arbitrator. Barrick said in the meantime it would continue to engage with the government to resolve this matter.
Barrick and its predecessor Randgold have been a partner and investor in the Senegalese mining industry since 1995, and continues to invest in its exploration projects, as well as through its investment in Endeavour Mining Corp.
The following is Barrick’s Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information
“Certain information contained in this press release, including any information as to Barrick’s strategy, plans, or future financial or operating performance, constitutes “forward-looking statements”. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements.
“The words “will”, “would”, “continue” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this press release contains forward-looking statements including, without limitation, with respect to Barrick’s strategy for the resolution of the Senegalese tax dispute through arbitration and continued engagement with the Senegalese Revenue Authority, and Barrick’s continuing investment in exploration projects in Senegal.
“Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions; including material estimates and assumptions related to the factors set forth below that, while considered reasonable by Barrick as at the date of this press release in light of management’s experience and perception of current conditions and expected developments, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, and competitive uncertainties and contingencies.
“Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements and information.
“Such factors include, but are not limited to: timing of receipt of, or failure to comply with, necessary permits and approvals, including with respect to the assumption of closure obligations; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development; changes in national and local government legislation, taxation, controls, or regulations and/or changes in the administration of laws, policies, and practices, expropriation or nationalization of property and political or economic developments in Senegal; lack of certainty with respect to foreign legal systems, corruption and other factors that are inconsistent with the rule of law; failure to comply with environmental and health and safety laws and regulations; litigation, arbitration and legal and administrative proceedings; risk of loss due to acts of war, terrorism, sabotage and civil disturbances; and damage to Barrick’s reputation due to the actual or perceived occurrence of any number of events, including negative publicity with respect to the Barrick’s handling of environmental matters or dealings with community groups, whether true or not. In addition, there are risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development, and mining, including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave-ins, flooding, and gold bullion, copper cathode, or gold or copper concentrate losses (and the risk of inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks).
“Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can affect our actual results and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, us. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements.
“Specific reference is made to the most recent Form 40-F/Annual Information Form on file with the SEC and Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a more detailed discussion of some of the factors underlying forward-looking statements, and the risks that may affect Barrick’s ability to achieve the expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements contained in this press release.
“Barrick disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law”
Here we go again – another African country being dragged to court over a dispute that could be solved amicably and quickly through mutual and constructive dialogue. When will African leaders ever learn that Investors will never drag them to the ICC unless they are absolutely sure of a judgement in their favor? Geez! What are Senegalese officials thinking? Why waste thousands of dollars on a losing effort like our Sierra Leone, only to end up being humiliated by defeat when it was all over? This is exactly what happens when you approve contracts and agreements that are not thoroughly thought out and understood but hastily executed because of bribes behind the scenes.
208 million dollars is no pocket change especially in these very hard Covid 19 times; My advice to the Senegalese is to not hold a grudge but negotiate in good faith so that old alliances are protected, maintained and allowed to continue to flourish. Do not burn down bridges, embrace the avenues and options that can be found in the domains of peaceful, logical and unbiased settlement. So what if you loose a few bucks here and there?
An alliance that is structured for longevity is bound to bring you much more in the coming years if only you are shrewd enough to play your cards well. Gentlemen its time to settle out of court, cut your losses and move forward. Here’s another piece of advice that will serve you well: The laws,standards and benchmarks by which every foreign investors operate and conduct their businesses in alien territories have been craftily designed to protect them and provide all the advantages they will need in order to thrive and succeed; Do not waste your precious time and money trying to change things that cannot be changed; Trust me on this as sure as tomorrow’s sunrise so will be the judgement against you – I guarantee it. Be wise – think of the hungry,weary teeming poor masses – cut your now losses and run. (lol)