Tanzania's Magufuli pushes for listing of mining firms

Tanzania's President John Magufuli addresses a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania’s president John Magufuli said his government will enforce a new rule requiring mining firms to list on its bourse by August as part of measures aimed at increasing transparency and spreading wealth from the country’s natural resources.Major foreign-owned mining companies in Tanzania that will be affected by the requirement to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange include Acacia Mining Plc, AngloGold Ashanti and Petra Diamonds.

“By listing these companies on the stock exchange, we will be able to monitor how much (revenue) they actually get,” Magufuli said in a television program aired by local stations late on Tuesday.

The television program produced by the president’s office featured comments made by Magufuli during talks with local business leaders on May 6.The government issued regulations last year requiring holders of special mining licenses to sell a 30 percent stake in their companies via an initial public offering within two years.

The mining ministry amended the rules in February and set a new listing deadline to Aug. 23.Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer and also has vast deposits of coal, uranium and precious gemstones.Magufuli said he hoped IPOs would bring more transparency and offer the public a share of the mining industry’s profits.Since coming into office in November 2015, Magufuli has launched a crackdown on tax evasion targeting large companies, particularly mining and telecoms firms.Major mining companies confirmed they were in talks with the Tanzanian government on the new mandatory listing rule.”As investors in any country, we value policy and regulatory stability and certainty. We value the ability to have a constructive dialogue with the authorities in Tanzania with respect to the listing regulations,” AngloGold Ashanti spokesman Chris Nthite, told Reuters.AngloGold Ashanti owns the Geita gold mine in northwest Tanzania.London-listed Petra Diamonds, which holds a 75 percent stake in the Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania, with the government holding the rest, said it was also in discussions with authorities on the listing rule.

Acacia had no comment when contacted by Reuters, but said last month while releasing first-quarter earnings its three gold mines in Tanzania would be affected by the listing requirement.

The planned mandatory listing of mining companies comes after implementation of separate regulations requiring telecoms firms list on the local stock exchange.

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa and David Evans