Int’l Court of Arbitration dismisses claims of British Oxus Gold against Uzbekistan
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dec. 24
By Demir Azizov- Trend:
International Court of Arbitration created in accordance with the rules of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has rejected the claims of the British gold producer (Oxus Gold) against the government of Uzbekistan, said the company.
The British company has been suing the government of Uzbekistan since 2011 due to the investment in the "Amantaytau Goldfields" (AGF) joint venture and the Uzbek "Khandiza" field. In 2011, Oxus Gold filed a lawsuit in the UNCITRAL.
"Amantaytau Goldfields" joint venture, which was founded by British Oxus resources Corp. - 50 percent, the Uzbek State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources - 40 percent and Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine - 10 percent, had a license to develop "Amantaytau" fields with recoverable reserves of 3.2 million ounces of gold and additional stocks valued over 3 million ounces.
It also had licenses for four gold deposits, the largest of which - "Uzunbulak" with recoverable reserves of 230,000 ounces and "High Voltage" - 600,000 ounces of gold.
It was previously reported that in January 2011, the Uzbek government initiated a procedure of the voluntary liquidation of the joint venture. British Oxus Gold plc. is a co-founder of the joint venture. It issued a statement in March 2012 that it was ready to bring action against the Uzbek government to the International Court of Arbitration if the country does not agree to set a fair price for a package of shares of the British company in the joint venture. In the future, the British company declared force majeure at the joint venture.
In early February 2013, the Navoi Economic Court granted a request from creditors to recognize Uzbek-British JV "Amantaytau Goldfields" as a bankrupt and to begin its liquidation process.
Oxus Gold won exclusive right to develop polymetallic "Khandiza" field in 2002. However, in 2006, the right to develop the "Khandiza" field was transferred to "Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Plant" JSC (Tashkent region), one of the largest producer of nonferrous metals in Central Asia by a special decree of the president of Uzbekistan.
Oxus Gold valued the total amount of damage inflicted at $400 million.
"On December 21, arbitrators totally rejected the claim of Oxus Gold on the "Khandiza" project, the court of arbitration also rejected the claim of the British company's joint venture "Amantaytau Goldfields", said the message.
At the same time, an international arbitration court obliged the government of Uzbekistan to pay the British company nearly $10.3 million and interest for 2004-2010 (LIBOR + two percent) as compensation for the violation of the agreement on protection of investments between Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom.
Uzbekistan violated this agreement by changing the taxation regime for the "Amantaytau Goldfields" joint venture in 2006 and 2009, according to the judges.
Representatives of the British company plan to soon begin to prepare a new suit against Uzbekistan for the submission to the court of arbitration in Paris, according to Oxus Gold.