File picture: Carl De Souza

INTERNATIONAL – Acacia Mining said on Friday it would seek direct dialogue with Tanzania over a long-running tax dispute and threatened to invoke a bilateral investment treaty should a settlement not be reached.

Acacia’s parent Barrick Gold has been negotiating with the Tanzanian government on behalf of London-listed Acacia for 19 months but no final settlement has been reached.

“We will ... be reaching out to the Government to seek the opportunity for direct dialogue regarding the ongoing disputes between the Government, the Company and the broader Acacia Group,” the company said in a statement.

It added that if it failed to negotiate a resolution, it could pursue a claim under a bilateral investment treaty between Tanzania and the United Kingdom.

Tanzanian authorities have charged three of Acacia’s local subsidiaries, an employee and a former staffer with money laundering and tax evasion, the gold miner said on Wednesday.

“Each of the recent charges relate to matters which are subject to or have been introduced into the existing contractual arbitrations with the (government),” Acacia said in a statement.

“The Company is currently considering its legal position and is concerned about the increasing risks to the safety and security of its people.”

Acacia said on Wednesday that all the accused had pleaded not guilty.

Also on Thursday, the company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the three months to September fell 11 percent from the previous quarter to $44.6 million due to a softer gold price and lower output.