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Govt sheds light on mining controversy

THE government will react according to the law, to the claims by a Canadian based junior gold exploration company, Winshear Gold Corp, on an alleged dispute involving investment in the SMP Gold project located in South West Tanzania.

Solicitor General Dr Clement Mashamba told the ‘Daily News’ on Tuesday that his office as well as that of the Attorney General (AG) has received a notice by the company of an intention to submit claim to arbitration under a Canada-Tanzania agreement for promotion and reciprocal protection of investments.

Dr Mashamba could not, however, go into details on the government’s reaction on the matter because arbitration issues are always confidential.

“What I can say for now is that we confirm receiving the notice. We will react to the claims in accordance with the law,” he said.

On January 10, 2020, Winshear delivered to the AG of Tanzania a Notice of Intent toSubmit a Claim to Arbitration in accordance with the 2013 Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (Bilateral Investment Treaty or “BIT”) between Canada and Tanzania.

According to the notice, Winshear has formally notified the Tanzanian government that there exists an investment dispute between Winshear and the Government.

It is alleged that the dispute arises out of certain acts and omissions of the United Republic of Tanzania in breach of the BIT and international law, relating to the company’s investment in the SMP Gold Project located in SW Tanzania.

The company commenced exploration activities on the SMP Gold Project in 2006.

Subsequently, the company, through its Tanzanian subsidiary, applied for and was granted four Retention Licences, which covered the mineral resource areas.

It is claimed in the notice that the Retention Licences were valid for a period of five years and could be extended for a second period of five years before applying for a Mining Licence.

In 2017 the government of Tanzania announced wideranging and severe amendments to the Mining Act 2010, which, among others, abolished the legislative basis for the Retention Licence classification with no replacement classification.

The company claims that on 10 January 2018, Tanzania published the Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations 2018.

Under It is stated in the notice further that the rights over all areas under retention licences, including those under the SMP Retention Licences, were immediately transferred to the government of Tanzania.

According to the Company’s notice, on December 19, 2019, the Mining Commission of Tanzania announced a public invitation to tender for the joint development of areas previously covered by Retention Licences, including the SMP Retention Licences.

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Author: FAUSTINE KAPAMA

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