Montero Mining provides an update on arbitration proceedings against Tanzania for the expropriation of Wigu Hill
12 April 2022
By Uttara Choudhury
The Toronto-based company says it expended “significant out of pocket costs” on exploration activities on the Wigu Hill project since March 2008 and created “considerable value for Tanzania”
Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd (TSX-V:MON), provided an update on the arbitration proceedings against the United Republic of Tanzania over the expropriation of the Wigu Hill rare earth element project before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The Toronto-based junior exploration company’s Wigu Hill Rare Earth Element Retention License was expropriated by the Tanzanian government in 2018. The company claims it has expended “significant out of pocket costs” on exploration activities on the project since March 2008. The firm maintains that Montero’s exploration and development of the project has created “considerable value for Tanzania.”
Montero said the arbitral tribunal is composed of Dr Achille Ngwanza, the President, Eric Teynier, appointed by Montero and Cecil WM Abraham, appointed by Tanzania. It held its first session together with the parties on 17 January 2022, where procedural issues were discussed and agreed on, including the timeline of the proceedings, said the company.
Meanwhile, on February 18, 2022, the arbitral tribunal issued procedural order number 1, with a definitive timetable. Montero will file its Memorial on the merits of its case and the valuation of damages claimed in May 2022. The place of the arbitration is Washington DC, said the company.
Montero has retained as legal counsel Thierry Lauriol and his team at Jeantet AARPI and Dr Neal Rigby of SRK Consulting (US) Inc. as quantum expert. Dr Rigby has acted in this capacity and as mining and valuation expert in many international mining disputes that have been resolved through ICSID arbitrations. Montero obtained dispute funding from Omni Bridgeway, a leading global dispute funder.
Montero initiated international arbitration proceedings on January 8, 2021, through ICSID in accordance with the bilateral investment treaty between Canada and Tanzania which protects investment rights. The company is seeking compensation based on the damages it suffered from the "Tanzanian government's acts and omissions."
In a statement, Montero CEO Dr Tony Harwood said: "While we are pursuing this significant claim for damages and compensation, the company has divested from Tanzania to focus on the exploration and development in Chile, a tier 1 mining investment destination."
Montero is a junior exploration company focused on finding, exploring, and advancing globally significant gold, silver, and base metal deposits in Chile.