PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Junior PanTerra Gold has submitted a further A$23.79-million claim against the Ministry of Mines and Energy in the Dominican Republic, claiming a loss of profits from its Las Lagunas tailings retreatment project.
The company on Friday said that the quantity of the stored refractory tailings available for processing had amounted to around 4.9-million tonnes, which was substantially less than the 6.8-million tonnes presented as available by the government.
PanTerra told shareholders that it was "highly probable" that the government would reject the claim and that the matter would be referred to existing arbitration proceedings at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The ICSID is currently considering a $20-million claim from PanTerra against the Dominican government, with the miner claiming costs related to the government’s purported failure, at the start of the Las Lagunas project, to provide a suitable site for constructing a dam for tailings deposits after reprocessing.
The provision of a dam site was an obligation of the government under a special contract inked with PanTerra.
The company is also seeking to recover legal costs incurred in a tax battle with the Dominican government. Despite the special contract marking PanTerra "exempt from any type of tax, fee, duty, national or municipal", the Dominican government repeatedly submitted tax assessments to PanTerra, which the company was forced to defend in court.
The Supreme Court in December of last year ruled in favour of the company.
Meanwhile, PanTerra on Friday also announced that it has inked a formal joint venture (JV) agreement for the La Demajagua gold/silver project, in Cuba, with Gold Caribbean Mining SA (GCM).
GCM is a subsidiary of government-owned mining company GeoMinera SA, and will hold a 51% interest in the JV, with PanTerra to hold the remaining 49% stake.
PanTerra was tapped in 2018 as the proposed JV partner for the La Demajagua refractory gold project in south-west Cuba.
Once travel restrictions have been lifted, the JV will start a 15 000 m drilling programme to establish an initial Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource at the property and to provide confirmation of potential extensions of the orebody along strike and depth.
The JV vehicle will also start a prefeasibility study, at an estimated cost of $2.5-million, over the next 10 months, followed by a definitive feasibility study, and an additional 10 000 m drilling programme, at a cost of $4.5-million, over the subsequent 12 months.
The feasibility study will be based on a mining rate of 800 000 t/y of ore from an openpit operation with a mine life of six years, to produce some 55 000 t/y of concentrate at a targeted grade of 47 g/t gold and 380 g/t silver.