Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mongolia set to resolve mining licenses dispute -Kincora

(Reuters) - Mongolia plans to put a resolution to parliament that will end a dispute between 11 foreign license holders and the government over the invalidation of 106 mineral exploration licenses, one of the companies affected, Kincora Copper, said on Monday.

The dispute is one of several issues, led by disagreements between Rio Tinto and the government over plans to expand the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, that has soured investor appetite for Mongolia over the past two years.

The 106 exploration licenses were declared void by a Mongolian court last year after it found the former head of the Mineral Resources Authority guilty of illegally approving the licenses between 2008 and 2009.

Toronto-listed Kincora Copper Ltd, one of 11 foreign investors affected, said the proposed resolution was a "win-win" to end the dispute over its two cancelled licenses, on which the company had to take a C$7 million writeoff last year.

"This case has had a major, negative impact on investor sentiment towards Mongolia. And the way in which the government responds to investor concerns about the revocation of licenses, we hope, will set a positive and visible precedent as to how future investors will be treated," Kincora Chief Executive Sam Spring said in a statement.

A Mongolian Mining Ministry official was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by Sonali Paul and Himani Sarkar)

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