Part of the
Kolwezi project
in the DRC
Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 October 2010 – An international court has rejected a bid by Canadian-based exploration, development and mining company First Quantum Minerals Limited to fully protect its disputed assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) “’ a move the DRC said gave it the right to proceed with their sale.

Revealing this in a statement here, First Quantum said it had failed to secure complete court protection for its US$750 million (R5.1 billion) investment in a copper tailings project in the DRC while it sought to defend it, but no ruling had yet been given and the case was not due to be heard until 2012.

“We sought a series of measures to protect the asset, and not all of these have been granted and that is not a surprise,” said a spokesman for First Quantum. “The tribunal has not made a ruling on the merits of the arbitration. In fact, the hearing of the arbitration is not scheduled until 2012,” the spokesman added.

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration (ICA) said it could not comment on the case.
Court documents obtained by Reuters dated October 26, however, said First Quantum’s request to block the DRC and state mining company Gecamines from selling or transferring the assets until arbitration was concluded, had been rejected because they were too large and unspecific.

First Quantum has already lost two other concessions, and the battle over rights to the Kolwezi project “’ now partly owned by Kazakh-based mining group ENRC “’ has dented investor confidence in the country.

DRC officials welcomed the court’s decision. “I’m in heaven,” Bene M’Poko “’ the DRC spokesman on the deal with ENRC and ambassador to South Africa “’ told Reuters by telephone.