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Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals

With several strokes of a pen, Tanzania’s president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has granted a group of Australian miners the right to start developing the east African nation’s mineral wealth after years of delays, but there was one last minute hold-out.
Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals Peak holds out as trio sign Tanzanian deals

Mines minister Doto Biteko (left), president Samia Suluhu Hassan (centre), and Black Rock CEO John de Vries at the signing.

Haydn Black

Hassan, who came to power in March after the death of former president John Magufuli, had invited OreCorp, Black Rock Mining, Strandline Resources, and Peak Rare Earths to a signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam yesterday deigned to finalise the framework agreements that will underpin new gold, graphite, mineral sands and rare earth mines.
While OreCorp, Black Rock and Strandline all signed, Peak did not.
Hassan explained Peak was originally expected to sign an agreement but raised some late objections to the in-country value addition and refining point, and would be delayed.
Peak is hoping to develop the Ngualla project in Tanzania, which will ship material to a separation facility in the UK.
Peak chairman Tony Pearson, who was in attendance for the signing ceremony anyway, told the gathering that significant progress had been made in final negotiations.
Hassan has authorised the Ministry of Minerals to sign on her behalf to expedite the development of Tanzania's first rare earths mine.
The new mining code was implemented following the 2015 election of Magufuli, and was designed to give the Tanzanian government, and by extension its people, a greater share of the wealth generated from the country's resources.
Key changes included the introduction of a mandatory 16% free-carry ownership of projects. 
It was a move that set back potential developments for several years, but with the end in sight could unlock billions of dollars for the nation over the next three decades.
It's now all systems go.
Strandline Resources, which is already developing the Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia, has numerous development options in Tanzania, with its most advanced being the high‐margin Fungoni project outside Dar es Salaam, which is likely to be followed by the large-scale Tajiri project near the port of Tanga.
It has established the 84%-owned Nyati Mineral Sands subsidiary, with the government holding a non-dilutable, free carried 16% in line with the law.
With a framework agreement finally in place, Strandline expects to unlock over A$1.3 billion in earnings, with JORC resources sufficient for 30 years of production of zircon, titanium, garnet and monazite.
Black Rock and Tanzania have established Faru Graphite Corporation to drive development of the world-class Mahenge project on a similar 84:16 ownership split.
Black Rock is now the only one of Tanzania's graphite hopefuls with a framework agreement, which it believes will give it first mover advantage. 
A special mining licence is expected to be granted soon, and all existing approvals will be transferred across.
Black Rock is already in the financing process for the project, which is expected to generate a benefit to the Tanzanian economy of US$6.5 billion over the 26-year life of the project.
The company has been granted an exemption to a requirement under the mining code that expects developers will issue 5% of stock to local interests and list of 30% of stock on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
In the gold space, OreCorp and the government have established Sotta Mining Corporation to own the 3.07 million ounce Nyanzaga project, the first new large scale gold mine in Tanzania in over a decade.
A SML was approved in June.
Tanzania's fiscal regime typically involves a 3% royalty on project revenues and a 30% corporate income tax rate.
Each holding company will have five directors, including two government representatives.
Peak shares eased 1.2% in early trade to A81c, Black Rock's shares dropped 2% to 23c, Strandline's stock was steady at 29c, and OreCorp shares rose 1.3% to 77c.
Black Rock and Strandline were trading at close to their highest levels in year this morning.