Uzbekistan wins longstanding dispute with British company

By bne IntelliNews April 12, 2016

In an arbitration case based on United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), an ad-hoc tribunal has ruled in favour of Uzbekistan in a longstanding dispute between the country and British company Oxus Gold, internet magazine The Baltic Course reported on April 11. The tribunal dismissed more than “99% of the $1.33bn in damages claimed by Oxus and confirmed the legitimacy of the actions of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, according to the report.

Oxus Gold began its activity in Uzbekistan in 1997, specialising in the field of precious metals, through subsidiaries Oxus Resources Corporation and Marakand Minerals. The company worked primarily on Khandiza and Amantaytau Goldfields projects. In 2011, the company filed a claim against Uzbekistan for alleged breach by Uzbekistan of an agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom on mutual protection and encouragement of investments within the framework of the two projects.

The tribunal rejected all of Oxus’s claims related to the Khandiza polymetallic deposit, which amounts to $780mn in alleged damages and lost profits, agreeing with Uzbekistan that Oxus never obtained the right to develop Khandiza. “Rather, Oxus secured only a right to formal, exclusive, and good faith negotiations to develop the Khandiza Deposit jointly with the Uzbek Parties on mutually acceptable terms,” the report said. Oxus contractually agreed that it would not claim for sunk costs. The tribunal also fully rejected an over $550mn claim “regarding alleged expropriation of the company’s investment” in the Amantaytau Goldfields joint venture between Oxus and the Uzbek government.

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