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Panthera subsidiary notifies Indian government over Bhukia dispute

Morning Star | 2 January 2024

Panthera subsidiary notifies Indian government over Bhukia dispute

By Hugh Cameron

(Alliance News) - Panthera Resources PLC on Tuesday confirmed that its Australian subsidiary had commenced litigation against the Republic of India.

Panthera, a gold exploration company with assets in India and West Africa, said that its subsidiary Indo Gold Pty Ltd had issued a notice of dispute to the Indian government over the latter’s breach of the 1999 Australia-India bilateral investment treaty.

This dispute dates back to August 2018, when the High Court of India rejected a prospecting licence by Indo Gold subsidiary Metal Mining India Pte Ltd for the Bhukia project in Rajasthan. According to Panthera, this was in spite of a promise by Rajasthan to grant the licence, and the rejection was conducted on "spurious and legally untenable grounds".

Panthera made its initial investment in Bhukia in 2004, and said that attempts to exercise its claimed legal rights over the site have been "consistently frustrated" by the Government of Rajasthan.

In September, the Times of India reported that the site’s gold deposits could be worth over USD1.00 billion, although Panthera has not verified this figure. The company will announce the extent of damages it is seeking from the government in due course.

In the absence of meaningful correspondence or an amicable settlement with the Indian government, Indo Gold will provide a notice of arbitration in the first quarter of 2024. Under the terms of the 1999 treaty, an arbitral tribunal will be set up within two months of this notice.

Panthera said that it has secured up to USD13.6 million in litigation financing with LCM Funding SG Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Litigation Capital Management Ltd.

Shares in Panthera were up 6.4% at 6.65 pence each in London on Tuesday morning.

 source: Morning Star