Euromax Resources mulls international arbitration over North Macedonia mine dispute

Euromax Resources mulls international arbitration over North Macedonia mine dispute
The Ilovica copper mine in North Macedonia is Canada-based exploration company Euromax Resources' flagship project. / bne IntelliNews
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje April 4, 2024

Canada-based exploration company Euromax Resources, whose flagship project is the Ilovica copper mine in North Macedonia, faces a legal battle after the Administrative Court dismissed its appeal against the government's decision to withdraw permission for the company to merge two concessions.

Despite favourable rulings from the Ministry of Economy and earlier court decisions, the government annulled the decision on the merger of the Ilovica 6 and Ilovica 11 concessions, prompting Euromax to explore international arbitration.

The company's determination to seek legal recourse remains firm, with plans to appeal the court's decision to the Higher Administrative Court. Euromax contends that the government's rationale for withdrawing the merger approval is flawed, as it contradicts existing legal frameworks and imposes arbitrary timelines.

In response to the setback, Euromax has initiated a dispute under the Swiss-Macedonian bilateral investment treaty, signaling its intent to seek damages for perceived mistreatment by state institutions. While international arbitration was not initially the company's preferred route, it now stands as a viable option to address grievances and protect its investment.

Tim Morgan-Wynne, executive chairman of Euromax Resources, expressed disappointment with the court's decision, citing a pattern of judicial oversight and governmental disregard for legal norms. He stressed the economic significance of the dispute amid rising copper and gold prices and reaffirmed the company's commitment to upholding its rights through legal means.

“We are deeply disappointed by the Administrative Court's decision, which once again demonstrates a disregard for the applicable laws and an unwarranted deference to the Higher Administrative Court. It is concerning to witness such a pattern of judicial oversight, especially when international investors’ rights are at stake,” he said.

He added: “We cannot stand idly by as our rights are trampled upon, and our investments undermined. We remain steadfast in our resolve to protect our investment and uphold the rule of law, and we will utilise all available legal avenues to hold the Macedonian government accountable.”