If some stories are to be believed, African Barrick Gold of London, U.K., is "considering" the shutdown of its Tulawaka gold mine in Tanzania. The first reports came from allAfrica.com, and the news is making the rounds.
No less than Tulawaka general manager Philbert Rweyemamu is quoted as saying that frequent armed robberies at the mine have put the operation deeply in the red.
Before this news alarms loyal CMJ readers, this writer took a quick look at African Barrick's 2012 annual report. The closing of the Tulawaka mine was discussed in it, and the idea is not so newsworthy as some press outlets seem to think it is.
Let's look at the facts: African Barrick produced 626,212 oz of gold in 2012 and garnered revenue just shy of US$1.1 billion. The Tulawaka operation produced only 31,028 oz last year, and that was a significant drop from 58,871 oz in 2011. Closing a mine that is at the end of its reserves or economic resources is inevitable. Fortunately the company plans to offer its skilled employees jobs at its other operations.
So the closure of Tulawaka is not so much under consideration as it is a planned and orderly undertaking that was announced months ago.
I don't know who the allAfrica.com reporter was that wrote the original item, but a quick look at the annual report would have allowed the writer to put the closure in perspective.