On February 1, Tanzanian Minister for Minerals Doto Biteko officially opened three village offices constructed jointly between Black Rock’s Tanzanian subsidiary, Mahenge Resources Limited, and three local village communities within the project area.
Black Rock managing director and chief executive officer John de Vries said: “The building of the village offices in partnership with the people of Kisewe, Mdindo and Nawenge represents the first part of our promise of ‘giving the keys’.
“The real message here is that by doing things together we can achieve great things together.”
“Fair and reasonable compensation”
Black Rock has progressed with its Mahenge resettlement action plan (RAP) - developing policies, procedures and processes to mitigate any adverse social impacts from the development of the project for the local community.
De Vries said: “Our RAP process is also ahead of schedule.
“We are resolutely focused on running a leading, transparent process that delivers fair and reasonable compensation for all affected people.”
The company will now commence a detailed inventory assessment to determine compensation.
The company also welcomed the recent resolution of the dispute between Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) and the Tanzanian Government with the signing of a joint venture agreement following Barrick’s takeover of Acacia Mining in September last year.
De Vries said it was a transformational step that established a pathway for renewed interest in, and the growth of, Tanzania’s mining industry.
He said: “It is heartening to see the recent resolution of Barrick’s dispute with the Tanzanian Government.
"We now look forward to advancing towards the remaining approvals for development of the world-class Mahenge Graphite Project.”
Moving forward at Mahenge
Minister for Mines Doto Biteko is keen to move forward with the Mahenge project.
He said: “We must now rapidly move to clear the way for new compliant large-scale mines to be developed.
“I look forward to Mahenge Resources Limited leading the way for these next-generation Tanzanian mines.
“We believe graphite will be an important part of these new mines, and that the Mahenge region will be recognised internationally as a source of the world’s best graphite.”
Currently, Mahenge project ore reserves sit at 70 million tonnes at 8.5% total graphitic carbon, which supports up to 350,000 tonnes of graphite per annum for an expected mine life of 16 years.