UAE company files $27bn in damages against Congo Govt. after loses iron ore licence

Iron ore pellets

A UNITED Arab Emirates company is the latest to dispute the loss of an iron ore mining licence in the Republic of Congo, said Reuters.

Avima Iron Ore launched arbitration proceedings and is seeking $27bn in damages after losing its licence last year.

Australia’s Sundance Resources, whose Mbalam-Nabeba project straddles the border of Congo and Cameroon, filed for arbitration against Congo in March after the government stripped it of its license, said Reuters. It is seeking $8.8bn in damages.

Avima’s iron ore licence was one of three that Congo’s government revoked late last year and handed to a little-known company backed by Chinese investment called Sangha Mining Development Sasu.

Avima said in a statement cited by Reuters it had been scheduled to start production and ship high-grade iron ore to customers from a port in neighbouring Cameroon beginning in January 2021.

Proceedings commenced at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce last Friday, Avima said.

“We are taking all necessary action and pre-emptive measures to protect our investment against these unlawful attempts to expropriate our assets,” said Avima’s executive chairman, Socrates Vasiliades.

Reuters said Sundance also referred a dispute with Cameroon to arbitration last week after the government said it was in talks with Congo to develop the Cameroonian side of the mine with Chinese investors.