The Citizen | 19 January 2020
Third miner declares dispute with Tanzania government
Dar es Salaam. Another Canada-based company Montero Mining and Exploration is in dispute with the government over a repossessed retention mining licence.
This is the third company in less than a week to have declared a dispute with the government over mining licences.
In a statement on Friday, Montero Mining and Exploration (TSX-V: MON) said that it has delivered a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration to the Attorney General of Tanzania in accordance with the 2013 Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments in the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between Canada and Tanzania.
According to the statement, the dispute arises out of certain acts and alleged omissions of Tanzania in breach of the BIT and international law, relating to Montero’s investment in the Wigu Hill rare earth element project.
On Wednesday last week, a Canadian company Winshear Gold Corporation announced a similar move, followed by Indiana Resources Limited (ASX: IDA), a mining company linked to United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The Tanzanian Minerals Commission (TMC) chairman Prof Shukrani Manya has since Tuesday this week told The Citizen on telephone that government organs were working on the matter raised by the Canadian company.
As the government action is awaited, this Friday, the latest company to declare a dispute over the same matter, Montero said that it commenced exploration activities on the Wigu Hill project in March 2008 when it was held under Prospecting License. It subsequently, on advice from the Mining Commissioner, applied for a Retention License in 2014 and this was granted in 2015 and was valid for a period of 5 years.
In 2017, the government announced amendments to the Mining Act 2010, which abolished the legislative basis for the Retention Licence classification with no replacement classification and soon the Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations 2018 cancelled all Retention Licenses issued prior to that date, which would cease to have any legal effect. The rights to all areas under Retention Licenses were immediately transferred to the government.