Proactive | 23 March 2021
Panthera Resources notes passing of new minerals bill in India, presses on with litigation in regard to Bhukia
by Alastair Ford
Panthera Resources PLC (LON:PAT) noted the Government of India passed a new bill (MMDR2021) to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 2015 (MMDR2015).
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 its joint venture partner, Metal Mining India Pvt Ltd, in terms of its right to secure approval for its prospecting licence applications (PLAs) for the Bhukia and Taregaon projects.
"The Bhukia project is an outstanding Tier 1 undeveloped gold project and a significant asset of our company,” said Panthera’s managing director Mark Bolton.
“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.”
Despite prescriptions made within the new bill about the manner of compensation available to parties, Panthera’s present advice is that under the Australia-India Bilateral Investment Treaty of 26 February 1999, any compensation awarded may be computed on the basis of the market value of the relevant investment in India.
Panthera has commenced discussions with potential international litigation funders to support a potential dispute.
Panthera 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.