Barrick said it has appointed its former chief operating officer (COO), Richard Williams, as envoy of the mining company's chairman to Tanzania.
The government launched talks with Barrick in July last year after it accused its subsidiary, Acacia Mining, of dodging $190 billion (over 420 trillion/-) in taxes. Acacia, which is 63.9 per cent owned by Barrick, denies the allegations.
"Williams has ... been leading ongoing discussions with the government of Tanzania that aim to resolve outstanding issues facing Acacia Mining Plc," Barrick said in a statement yesterday.
"This is a matter of strategic importance to Barrick. In order to ensure those discussions are concluded expeditiously, Williams is taking on a new role as the chairman’s executive envoy to Tanzania, and will focus exclusively on this challenge."
Barrick Chairman John Thornton met with President John Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam in June last year and agreed on talks about the dispute between the government and Acacia, Tanzania’s largest mining company.
Williams is reported to have struck up a good rapport with the leader of the Tanzanian delegation in the talks, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi.
His redeployment from COO to Thornton's executive envoy to Tanzania signifies the importance that Barrick attaches to ending the Tanzanian tax dispute, analysts said.
Over the past two and a half years, Williams has led the transformation of Barrick’s operating system as its COO.
Under the new changes, Barrick appointed Greg Walker as its Senior Vice President, Operational and Technical Excellence.
Walker once served as general manager of the Bulyanhulu and Tulawaka gold mines in Tanzania.
Williams served for 20 years in the British army, including command of the Special Air Service (SAS), an elite special forces unit, leading operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, South America and the UK.
He holds a master’s degree in defence and security studies from King’s College London, an MBA from Cranfield University, and a bachelor of science in economics from University College London.