Update on MMDR Bill of 2021
Further to the announcement on 16 March 2021, Panthera Resources Plc (AIM: PAT), the diversified gold exploration and development company with assets in West Africa and India, advises that the Government of India has passed a new bill (MMDR2021) to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 2015 (MMDR2015). The MMDR2021, which has now been passed by both houses of Parliament, is expected to become law in the second quarter of this calendar year.
The Company believes that the new MMDR2021 may have an impact on the Company’s joint venture partner, Metal Mining India Pvt Ltd (MMI), in terms of its right to secure approval of its Prospecting Licence Applications (PLAs) for the Bhukia and Taregaon Projects in India.
Mark Bolton, Managing Director of Panthera, commented:
“The Bhukia project is an outstanding Tier 1 undeveloped gold project and a significant asset of our Company. While the introduction of the MMDR2021 is disappointing, it does provide clarity on the Company’s future strategy.
As previously announced, the Company has appointed Fasken, a leading international law firm, to advise the Company of its legal options, and in particular, the Australian Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Importantly, despite prescriptions made within this new MMDR2021 bill about the manner of compensation available to parties, our Company’s present advice is that under the Australia-India Bilateral Investment Treaty of 26 February 1999, any such compensation awarded may be computed on the basis of the market value of our investment in India. The Company advises that it has commenced discussions with potential international litigation funders to support a potential dispute pursuant to the ABIT.
Notwithstanding the developments in India, the Company has an outstanding portfolio of West Africa gold assets which has and will continue to to be the main focus of our activities. ”
The Company made its initial investment in Bhukia, through its 95% owned Australian subsidiary, Indo Gold Pty Limited, in 2005. The Company’s rights to be granted a Prospecting Licence over Bhukia, through its joint venture partner, have been consistently frustrated over an extended period by the Government of Rajasthan (GoR). More recently, the Prospecting Licence Application over Bhukia was again rejected by the GoR in August 2018 on various spurious and legally untenable grounds.
Currently, certain PLAs, are preserved under Section 10A2(b) of the MMDR2015, however, we believe subject to legal advice, that under Clause 13 of the proposed MMDR2021 bill, any pending PLAs shall lapse on the date of commencement of the new MMDR2021 Act. Furthermore, under Clause 13, the holder of a reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence whose rights lapsed shall be reimbursed the expenditure incurred towards reconnaissance or prospecting operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the GoI. This expenditure on account of reimbursement may increase in case any foreign investor invokes Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements executed between India and other countries.
On 18 February 2021, the Company announced that it had appointed Fasken to advise the Company on a potential dispute with the Republic of India concerning the Bhukia Joint Venture Project (Bhukia). Specifically, Fasken is advising the Company on its potential dispute under the ABIT in relation to Bhukia, which includes past, present and any future acts and/or omissions by India and its state entities and actors.
If anyone reads this article found it useful, helpful? Then please subscribe www.share-talk.com or follow SHARE TALK on our Twitter page for future updates.
Terms of Website Use
All information is provided on an as-is basis. Where we allow Bloggers to publish articles on our platform please note these are not our opinions or views and we have no affiliation with the companies mentioned