UK court rules against Sierra Leone government in its battle with SL Mining

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 February 2021:

UK High Court on Monday dismissed Sierra Leone’s challenge of a 2020 International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) decision over claims by SL Mining after a dispute over its iron ore mining operations in the country.

Formal arbitration proceedings have yet to begin as Sierra Leone had sought to challenge the ICC’s jurisdiction.

SL Mining, a subsidiary of U.S. commodity trader Gerald Group, filed for arbitration in August 2019 and suspended its Marampa mine the following month, after a dispute with Sierra Leone’s government.

Monday’s judgment “conclusively” dismissed Sierra Leone’s challenge and upheld the partial award

Sierra Leone cancelled the company’s mining licence in October 2019. The government said the company breached its contractual obligations. SL Mining denied the accusation.

Sierra Leone challenged the ICC’s jurisdiction, arguing SL Mining should have waited three months from the July 14 2019 notice of dispute before commencing arbitration proceedings.

But the ICC arbitrators last year issued a partial final award concluding they had jurisdiction with regards to SL Mining’s claims.

Monday’s judgment “conclusively” dismissed Sierra Leone’s challenge and upheld the Partial Award, SL Mining said in a statement.

UK High Court Judge Michael Burton agreed with the arbitrators, saying the three-month period is set out for the two parties to have time to reach a settlement, but that the full period need not have elapsed before arbitration begins.

“As I put it in argument, it seemed to me clear that as at 30 August there was not a cat’s chance in hell of an amicable settlement by 14 October,” Burton said in the judgment.

In a release after the judgment, SL Mining said Sierra Leone has agreed to pay the company’s costs and will not appeal the judgment.

“The government has not lost the matter, we have just lost a jurisdictional issue, but the substantive matter remains,” said Sierra Leone’s Mines Minister Timothy Kabba.

“We still remain optimistic … It’s a process, we are committed to the process.”

Kabba said the arbitration proceedings will begin next month.

You can read the SL Mining’s statement here

Source Credit: Mining.Com

10 Comments

  1. I personally believe that President Bio will be remembered just like our past HEROES Sengeh Pieh, Bai Bureh, and Sir Milton Margai based on the fact that they all fought for the DIGNITY, FREEDOM AND JUSTICE for our citizens. President Bio will always refuse to sell his “BIRTHRIGHTS for a bowl of porridge”. Let us continue to hope and pray that SL Mining will abandon the ideology of GREED. They should use their conscience by destroying the agreement signed with the destructive APC party in the 11th hour (which includes bribery) before they were kicked out of Statehouse. The upcoming arbitration process should be a Win Win situation for the People of Sierra Leone and the SL Mining which is one of the biggest corporations in the world.

  2. Anyone who has been an avid reader of the Sierra Leone Telegraph will be able to quite easily tell you that since day one, I have been reiterating that these half-witted SLPP dummies now in positions of authority and power in our Sierra Leone have already made a terrible Call that was bound to totally tarnish the hard-earned reputation of our little fragile,struggling nation in the eyes of an ever progressing interconnected Global community. Yup,they threw a lethal boomerang out of spite at peaceful,law abiding investors that has now spiraled out of control and returned crashing with a vengeance on our financially ill-equipped miserable doorsteps – now there will be hell to pay.(lol) Goodness gracious!Anyone with a good head on their shoulders could have easily foreseen and predicted that this dysfunctional criminal government of Sierra Leone was going to suffer a devastating humiliating defeat at the hands of SL Mining in the end.

    In sports amateur referees have been known to make bad calls that have destroyed their entire careers,the same thing applies to clumsy, incompetent politicians like those in the SLPP today that don’t know the simple difference between their knees and their elbows – these people are the architects,and facilitators of misery and abject poverty in Sierra Leone.The Criminal SLPP Cabal have taken incompetence to a whole new level;they are like Alligators with sharp teeth that don’t know how to use them ;Pot-belly old corrupt men they are,still being nestled,suckled and spoon-fed by the feeble arms of poor judgment, indecisiveness,and procrastination.I would advise the Minister of Mines to do the right thing – CUT YOUR LOSSES NOW AND RUN,otherwise we will be chained and shackled by the legal system for eons and millenniums to come.

  3. Peter Duada, will a government that actually wants to have the highest potential benefits in all mining contracts, be involved in UNDER THE TABLE DEAL of shipment of our minerals, and when caught go to the extra length of downgrading the very quality of our own mineral to the outside world? If Sierra Leone is to develop, we honestly need to stop this hypocrisy. Just like corruption, we are against it only when people that we don’t like are accused of it, however, when our own people get caught stealing, we jump on the roof tops to defend them. Sickening!!

  4. I wish Sierra Leone well and hope that the government won’t give in to any intimidation regardless of the legal instruments used by the foreign investors. We want the country to benefit more from all future mining contracts.

  5. The SL Mining company was in 2019 said to have bribed the Chief Minister with the sum of $1.5 Million by a paid up journalist. If the Chief Minister had not reported the matter would have remain subjugale mutum. But when he did, his critics spinned the story to look as if it is true even though the SL Mining company in a statement to the ACC said they did not bribe him. The Bank where the money is said to have transferred said that they do not have a savings or debit account for the Chief Minister. Again the critics were not satisfied. They accused the ACC of a cover up and being a stooge to the Chief Minister. The Journalist who was reported refused to give his evidence and it still remain with him subjugale mutum but my friends Ibrahim Amadu Jalloh, hemor Kargbo and Stagazer would say they had a dream and it is true. But why would SL Mining company bribe the chief Minister just before the dubious deal they signed with the previous regime was terminated and it still remain terminated. They have to spend millions of Pounds Sterling to hire British Lawyers to fight their case against the people they had bribed remains any sane man’s imagination. What they failed to realize is that Dollars is not Sierra Leone legal currency.

    Bribing someone through bank transfer in dollars would have to go through international transfers and such will not go unnoticed for the same ACC accused of cover up to get a pass mark from the international actors. Having failed with that attempt, the same people have now metamorphosed into something else. Using legitimate government contracts, travels and businesses to allege fraud against the chief Minister. Who best to use but someone who at the start of the COI had written on his FaceBook page his displeasure of going after his brothers. And in other posts voicing it out as tribal and regional. Fortunately they are aided by blind politics and gullible supporters to buy into their fury.

    But when you know the story of the APC you will know how there’s is all about deception. In the 60s and early 70s, one Mende speaking people with almost Mende speaking accent would be made to shout at night that cannibals are eating them. In the morning you would see goat blood on the street but you never hear of a family reporting missing persons. When the APC grand founder finally consolidated his grip on power, the only persons on record that were tried and executed for cannibalism was a Gazali and others from Port Loko district. Is it history in a different format playing out for us again?

    • Thanks Mr kemon Brima. My opinion on matters relating to corruption in our country is common knowledge that we debate, talked about, but we never seemed to get a grip on this cancer. Even our own president, Bio, likes to say, is hindrance to our development.Bostwana, that almost have similar natural resources in the form of diamonds, hardly goes to the IMF with a begging bowl. Because they have politicians that are determined to deliver for their own country. Now You, and me, and all Sierra Leoneans will agree, our country is blessed with human and natural resources. But despite the first discovery of diamonds in our country in the 1930s, our country is still ranked as one of the least developed countries in the world.That is factually correct, and no amount of spinning of the stories of who is innocent, or guilty of corruption, should take away thoses facts.

      The RUF wars, tribal and regional differences, lack of developmental projects, those fifty thousand innocent fellow Sierra Leoneans killed during the war, the amputations, the mental effects, the structural damage both to the physical and economic infrastructure, all has its roots to the evil deeds of few of our fellow Sierra Leoneans, that believe the country’s resources should be used as a cash cow to enrich themselves. I repeat, I lost members of my own family in that senseless war. I couldn’t protect them at the time. But when I visited their graveside, I promised them I will speak out on their behalf, and make sure we don’t have any other war because of few corrupt individuals in our country. I am the anointed spokeman for the dead, whose lives were cut short because of corruption. Never again should any family go through the trauma of war. and the hurtful things about it, is like these politicians have not learned anything from that war. Bio fought in that war, so he understands better than anyone the bitterness of war.

    • Mr Kemoh, just one more question. I certainly don’t doubt your explanation. But did you know it is a crime to attempt to bribe a public official? If someone attempts to bribe the chie minister, and he reported it to the police, or ACC, whether it was a set up, or someone trying to tarnis his image, there by undermining the work of Bio’s anti corruption drive or crusad, what happened to that individuals.? Where they arrested and charged with trying to bribe a public official? Because it is against the laws in bribin, or trying to bribe a public official. In this case, the Chief Minister. Then one would have expected, the undercover agent, is arrested and charged with an attempt to bribe a public official. I will really appreciate it, if you can come back on this platform and enlighten us Sierra Leoneans, who are not enlightened enough as you seem to suggest, about the corrosive nature of corruption in our country.

      Pretty much defending the indefensible is not only counterproductive in our fight against corruption, but it goes to the heart of the fight against corruption. Every Sierra-leonean has a stake in this matter. We are all in this together. sAs a nation we are in the same boat, sailing in the choppy waters of corruption. We either swim or sink. So it will take our collective efforts to reach the shores. Out of 365 days a year, not a single day goes by without us talking about corruption. That is the only topic that engage the talking heads in our country. Why can’t we talk about road construction, new railway lines, new airports, new hospitals, schools or helping war victims, projects that addresse inequality, new universities, new housing projects or the lastest start ups by our innovative youths.

    • Sorry Mr Kemoh Brima. We are not talking about cannibalism here. Please don’t take me to the 60s or 70s. This Junta type behavior by the Bio SLPP kakistocracy has to stop. Period. It’s unacceptable to sack a bank manager, bogus exporting of our iron ore or terminating international business contracts in a junta style manner. There are procedures to follow which the Bio SLPP kakistocracy failed to follow. A failed regime on its way out is hard to defend folks. No parking, no waiting. God bless Sierra Leone and the APC.

  6. I don’t know how our lands minister Mr Timothy Kabba, can look at us and tell us with a straight face, our country has lost on jurisdictional issues, not as he put it – the substance issues. That shows the degree of recklessness he attached to this damaging court case. To my estimation, whether judge Michael Burton, had partially ruled in favour of Sierra Leone against SL Mining, it doesn’t bore well for our country. In this case, we lost. So which ever way you look at it – tis not good. Who ever worked in the PR department, should have known, this court case will be seen in the fraternities of foreign investors, that our country is closed for business.

    Yes new governments have the right to review contracts, but pulling the plug on some of these Mining operations without due process, like you are turning off a switch, is not only damaging to your country’s image in the investment world, but allowing disagreements with companies to go to a UK COURT is not the best way to attract foreign direct investments. You might as well put giant billboard at Lungi International airport, that says Sierra Leone is closed for business. Now, our government will be paying more in damages, than what they initially intended to recover for the state. All in the name of party politics.

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