Mongolia ends fight over $100 mln mining license arbitration

Mon Mar 7, 2016 1:46am EST
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By Terrence Edwards

ULAANBAATAR, March 7 (Reuters) - Mongolia has settled a dispute over an arbitration award that required it to pay more than $100 million last year to a Canadian miner for revoking a uranium mining license, just as it launches a push this week to attract new exploration interest.

"The Government of Mongolia and Khan Resources Inc. successfully reached an agreement that effectively resolves all outstanding issues in regards to the international arbitration awards," Mongolian Finance Minister Bolor Bayarbaatbar said in a statement released by Khan late on March 6.

"The settlement demonstrates the Government's ongoing commitment to improving the investment climate," he said.

Mongolian finance ministry officials could not be reached for comment on the settlement while in Toronto for the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference, where the Mineral Resources Authority said it will pitch mining and infrastructure projects and auction off exploration licenses.

"I think it helps their foreign investment case for Canadians and any foreign investor," said Jim Dwyer, executive director of the Business Council of Mongolia.

Khan Resources' statement did not say how much the government paid.

Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg has been touting the minerals-rich country as "Open for Business" in the wake of sharp declines in foreign investment since 2012 and plummeting prices for its top exports of copper and coal.

Investors turned cold on the country's once-booming mining sector partially because of public disputes with miners such as giant Rio Tinto and Khan Resources.   Continued...