Justice: an Australian company attacks Paul Biya

Justice: an Australian company attacks Paul Biya

N Melo
by N Melo
September 12, 2022 0

Justice: an Australian company attacks Paul Biya

The Cameroonian head of state is accused by the Sundance company of having violated a decision of the Paris Court of Arbitration, by signing on August 17, a decree granting the exploitation permit for the Mbalam iron deposit to a other business.

The legal battle between the State of Cameroon and the Australian mining junior Sundances Resources is far from over. Indeed, in a press release dated September 5, the Australian junior-miner Sundance Resources, the first developer of this project, the Head of State, Paul Biya, signed on August 17, 2022, a decree granting the exploitation permit from the Mbalam iron deposit to Cameroon Mining Company Sarl (CMC), an entity created on March 16, 2022.

According to Sundances, the Cameroonian president signed a decree not yet formalized, in which he granted the permit to this new entity subservient to the Autsino company, to the chagrin of Sundance Resources, which had seized jurisdictions abroad for force Cameroon to give up negotiations with the Chinese Autsino. The Australian mining junior considers this act of the Cameroonian president to be contrary to Cameroonian legislation, but above all to international legal standards, all the more so since the International Chamber of Commerce in France had recently summoned Cameroon not to issue mining permits. exploitation on this project until the outcome of the procedure.

In a press release published on July 21 on its website, the Australian junior-miner revealed that Cameroon’s appeal for annulment of its request, deemed admissible, but “unfounded”, had been rejected on July 20, 2022. This followed the introduction on April 1 by Sundance Resources of a provisional arbitration order at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, aimed at calling into question the negotiations surrounding the award of the operating permit to AustSino to the detriment of its subsidiary Cameroonian Cam Iron. The order stated that:

“Cameroon will refrain from taking any action, directly or indirectly, that interferes with the rights of the applicant/claimant with respect to the Mbalam mining permit (and will ensure that its relevant agencies and instruments refrain from manner), including (without limitation) by refraining from issuing an exploitation permit relating to the iron ore deposit of Mbalam or from issuing any instrument or document having a similar effect, to Sonamines or any other party, except for Cam Iron, until this order ceases to be binding…”

Sundance in financial incapacity

This decision to award the operating permit to another entity other than Cam Iron, the subsidiary of Sundance, does not push the Australian junior-miner to resign. She will continue her legal actions, she said. “Sundance had hoped to reach a settlement of its dispute with Cameroon, but will now pursue arbitration against Cameroon with increased vigor.”

As a reminder, Sundance accuses the Cameroonian State of refusing to implement the operating permit granted to its subsidiary Cam Iron in 2010 to develop the Mbalam iron project. According to concordant sources, the Australian mining junior is claiming, within the framework of these negotiations, damages amounting to the sum of 225 million Australian dollars in Cameroon, or approximately 94.4 billion F. The sum requested very little detailed according to Yaoundé is considered abusive by Cameroon. And for many observers, the unfortunate outcome of the Sundance adventure in Cameroon had been expected for months.

The Australian junior has indeed “had bigger eyes than stomach”, notes a lawyer familiar with the sector, for whom the strategy of exploring and then reselling its projects by making a nice capital gain on the stock market “could have operate in the gold sector but was unlikely to work for iron, where the investments needed in logistical infrastructure to transport the ore are otherwise more massive”.

Lacking a sufficiently large financial base, Sundance therefore multiplied the failures of partnership for the construction of the necessary infrastructures: a 540 km railway line and an ore port at Lolabé, at an estimated cost of at least 3.5 billions of dollars. Difficulties to which must be added the crushing domination of the iron sector by Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which form what is nicknamed the “iron cartel”, and which, with Chinese buyers, are making rain and good weather in the market, and who generally prefer to see projects through from start to finish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.