Friday, 5 April 2013

Sale of Kyrgyzstan's Jeeroy Gold Deposit Begins

The government of Kyrgyzstan has commenced the sale of a gold deposit located in the country's Talas region. In a statement in official newspapers, the government states that tendering will proceed until May 10 with a starting bid of $300m. The announcement comes at a time when the Kygyz government is facing a $400m claim from a Kazakh company.

Workers stand beside machinery in a tunnel in the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan 

Visor Holdings of Kazakhstan claims that its licence was revoked improperly in 2010 for what the Kyrgyz government said was 'failure to begin gold production'.

Visor previously held a 60% stake in a joint venture with Kyrgyzstan at Jeeroy. Sources at Visor say that tens of millions had already been invested before the licence was revoked.

The issue is being arbitrated at a US court.

According to Kyrgyzaltyn, the state gold company, the Jeeroy mine holds at least 84 tonnes of gold in addition to 13 tonnes of silver. The gold deposit is the country's second-largest and lies about 3000 metres above sea-level. The largest deposit, Kumtor, is also at the center of a dispute between the government and Canadian developer Centerra Gold.

The winner of the auction will be awarded a mining licence only and the state geological agency does anticipate obstacles for the winner in the form of property rights disputes.

(Source: Olga Dzyubenko, Reuters)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

BP Oil Spill: Oil Giant Disputes Pay-Offs

The Deepwater Horizon rig burns up in this April 2010 photo
British oil giant BP plc  has disputed the amounts being paid out for compensation with regard to the DeepWater Horizon oil spill. The oil company claims that the arbitrator who is settling the case has been paying out 'fictitious' claims. The oil company says that the independent administrator is allowing businesses to claim excessively favourable revenues and costs for the periods before and after the April 2010 accident.
 The company filed to have an injunction to stop Louisiana lawyer Patrick Juneau from paying out the claims. On Monday, lawyers representing the plaintiffs sought to have the injunction request quashed on the grounds that BP to make its compensation calculations more favourable. The company has had two similar attempts quashed previously, the plaintiff's lawyers say.
In a filing made on Monday,
the plaintiffs' lawyers added that Mr. Juneau was just following the settlement agreement.
Two of the biggest beneficiaries of the payments are law firms and construction companies, the oil giant claims. In a rejoinder, the plaintiffs' lawyers say that BP chose not to exclude certain industries from the compensation plan.
The settlement dispute will be heard on Friday in a New Orleans court.
(Source: Ed Crooks,