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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

U.S. court asked to enforce $4 billion ruling for mining company over halted Pakistan project

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Aug 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – A company registered under the laws of Australia involved in a dispute with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan over a mining agreement has asked a U.S. district court to enforce a more than $4 billion arbitration award.  

According to the Aug. 9 filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, petitioner Tethyan Copper Co. Pty Limited (TCC) filed a petition to enforce an arbitral award against respondent Islamic Republic of Pakistan and others. 

The petition states TCC entered into an agreement with the government of Balochistan in Pakistan for potential mining of copper and gold in 2006. TCC then spent approximately $240 million for exploratory work and a mine development feasibility study in Balochistan for the Reko Diq project, according to TCC's filing. 

However, TCC's mining application was denied by the Balochistan Licensing Authority, which resulted in TCC filing for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in accordance with a provision contained in an Australia-Pakistan treaty, the company says.

The ICSID found that Pakistan breached the treaty and agreement. The ICSD ordered Pakistan to pay $4.08 billion in compensation, $2.5 million for the costs of arbitration and $59 million for legal fees and expenses, according to TCC's petition.  

TCC argues that the ICSID's findings and award are binding according to the ICSID Convention, which sets up the structure and rules for investment disputes among foreign sovereign parties. TCC also argues that the U.S. is "a contracting party" to the ICSID Convention so it is "obligated to enforce" TCC's award. 

Among the TCC's requests for relief are $4.08 billion in principal, pre-award and post-award interest on principal as well as $61 million in costs and attorneys' fees. 

Attorneys for the plaintiff are Robert Weigel, Jason Myatt, Matthew McGill, Matthew Rozen and Katherine Maddox Davis with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington, D.C. and New York, New York.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia case number 1:19-cv-02424

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