Sundance refers iron ore dispute with Congo Republic to arbitration

Republic of Congo. Stock Image.

Sundance Resources said on Thursday it had referred its dispute with Congo Republic over the Nabeba iron ore project to arbitration in London, where it is seeking $8.76 billion in damages.

Congo’s government revoked Sundance affiliate Congo Iron’s permit in December and awarded it to a little known company backed by Chinese investment.

It accused Sundance of making insufficient progress developing the mine and failing to pay royalties, which the company denies.

Congo’s mines ministry could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

The Nabeba permit is part of Sundance’s flagship Mbalam-Nabeba project, which straddles the border of Congo and Cameroon. It has yet to begin extracting iron ore.

Sundance said in a statement it extended a negotiation period with Congo for 30 days last month, but there was “no meaningful engagement”. The referral was made under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce.

“We remain highly confident in the strength of our legal case against Congo and will pursue it with all our vigour,” said CEO Giulio Casello.

During the negotiation period, Congo signed a new deal to develop Nabeba with Sangha Mining Development, a company that was only incorporated in October.

Sundance is also in a dispute over its permit in Cameroon. The company says the government there has failed to issue a permit it needs to extract from the site.

(By Bate Felix and Nellie Peyton; Editing by Aaron Ross and Mark Potter)

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