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Tanzania Promises Tidal Shift For Mining Investors

Dec. 11, 2021 9:58 AM ETEcoGraf Limited (ECGFF), GOLD, TBGPF
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  • Opening of Tanzania to foreign investors announced in April.
  • Progress can be seen on many fronts.
  • A tidal shift for investors could be underway.

Tanzania switches the traffic light to green for commodities investors. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania's new president since March 19, 2021, is a politician who backs up her announcements with actions. On April 5 of this year, she had announced the opening of the country to foreign investors in a programmatic speech. Namely, the tax authority had been instructed to "work hard to regain the confidence of the international business community," which had been undermined for nearly a full decade under her suddenly deceased predecessor, John P. Magafuli.

No sooner said than done. Anyone following the news from Tanzania these days can clearly see the signs of a turning point. Today, after years of delays, Tanzanian authorities granted the special mining license to Australian company OreCorp (ASX: ORR). Experts believe this project will be Tanzania's next gold mine.

Also this week, Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) and junior Tembo Gold (TSXV:TEM;FRA:T23A) announced the go-ahead for the transfer of licenses in the neighborhood of Barrick's world-class Bulyanhulu mine. Barrick will pay $6 million and become a 5.5 percent shareholder in Tembo Gold. Barrick's CEO Mark Bristow himself called the acquisition a "significant step in the company's strategy to increase its investment in new growth opportunities in Tanzania."

Tanzania wants back into business

There's other positive news, too. Kabanga Nickel, owner of what is believed to be the world's largest and richest nickel project, has now also received a license for its project. For its planned IPO in London, the company wants to raise USD 1.3 billion from international investors for the development of its mine. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was worthy of an encouraging comment about the Kabanga project on his Twitter channel

It is evident that Tanzania wants to get back into business. If the opening continues, it could also loosen the shackles on other projects, some of which have been politically cold-called for years. We are thinking in particular of the Epanko graphite project of Ecograf Ltd. (ASX: EGR; FRA: FMK) For years, Ecograf and Germany's KfW IPEX Bank have championed the project. The completed feasibility study from 2015 was lavishly reviewed again by independent engineers in 2017 at a cost of millions and millions of dollars. IPEX Bank was mandated in April 2019 to arrange approximately $40 million in senior debt financing for Epanko. Technically, the project would have been ripe for a mining decision for a long time, but to date the Tanzanian authorities have not met the formal requirements for IPEX Bank to grant a loan.

The above examples suggest that a tidal shift for investors is underway in Tanzania. In particular, the successful financing of Kibanga Nickel could be the highly visible signal of a new investment boom in Tanzania. As it seems, the new president is working towards exactly that.

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