Sundance Resources refers iron ore dispute with Cameroon to arbitration
DAKAR, June 2 (Reuters) – Australian firm Sundance Resources has referred its iron ore dispute with the Cameroonian government to international arbitration, the company said in a statement on Wednesday, after taking the same action in a parallel dispute with the Republic of Congo.
Sundance said Cameroon’s failure to implement an operating license granted to its subsidiary Cam Iron in 2010 violated the terms of their agreements.
Cameroon’s mining ministry could not be contacted immediately for comment.
In March, the company filed for arbitration with the Republic of Congo, claiming $ 8.8 billion in damages on the disputed Mbalam-Nabeba project, which straddles the border of Congo and Cameroon. It has not yet started mining for iron ore.
Sundance said it planned to expand its negotiations with Cameroon, but chose to go ahead with legal proceedings after learning the government was in talks with the Republic of Congo to develop the mine with Chinese investors, without Sundance.
“It is no coincidence that these events occur at a time when iron ore prices are reaching record highs and China is looking to diversify its iron ore supplies outside of Australia,” said Sundance chief executive Giulio Casello in the statement.
The government of the Republic of Congo revoked the Sundance Congo Iron subsidiary’s license in December and awarded it to a little-known company backed by Chinese investment.
(Reporting by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Alessandra Prentice and David Clarke)
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