Australia’s Sundance Resources has referred its iron ore dispute with the government of Cameroon to international arbitration, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The dispute which has been referred to arbitration was first notified by Sundance on 15 December 2020 and primarily concerns Cameroon’s failure to implement the exploitation permit that was deemed to have been awarded to Sundance’s subsidiary, Cam Iron S.A. (“Cam Iron”), in 2010, according to the company.
“It is Sundance’s position that Cameroon’s failure to implement the exploitation permit, along with other acts and omissions, constitutes a breach of the 2015 Transition Agreement between Sundance, Cam Iron and Cameroon
(among other parties) and a violation of Cameroon’s obligations under international law,” said Sundance Resources.
“As Cameroon has refused to take the implementation steps requested by Sundance and has now publicly confirmed that it is engaged in active discussions with the Government of the Republic of the Congo for the development of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project – with the involvement of Chinese parties but excluding Sundance – it is now clear that formal legal proceedings will be required to enforce Sundance’s rights.”
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.
Congo’s government revoked Sundance affiliate Congo Iron’s permit in December and awarded it to a little known company backed by Chinese investment.
Recently, Congo Minister of Mining Industries and Geology, Pierre Oba, accused Sundance of being “a vast mafia”, alleging “they have become magnates, extremely rich but we, we continue to stumble”.
“Sundance strongly objects to these baseless and offensive statements, which will do nothing to advance Congo’s standing in the eyes of Western investors,” said the company.