JOHANNESBURG – The owner of Uganda's only tungsten mine has filed a claim against the International Tin Association (ITA) over alleged anti-competitive behaviour, a claim summary published by Britain's Competition and Appeal Tribunal shows.
Kerilee Investments Limited, the British majority shareholder in Uganda-based KI3R, which owns the Nyamuliro tungsten mine, says the ITA refused it membership of its conflict mineral due diligence programme "without due process or justifiable reason".
The International Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) was set up in 2009 and formalised in 2011 to help end-users of tin, tantalum/niobium and tungsten ensure their supply chains are free from conflict financing or human rights abuses. It is managed by the ITA.
ITSCI programme manager Roper Cleland confirmed the case had been filed, but declined to comment on the allegations.
"The proceedings are being vigorously contested in their entirety by the ITA and a robust defence is being prepared," Cleland wrote in an emailed response to Reuters. "We will be addressing the specific allegations in Court."
As well as damages, interest, and costs, Kerilee is seeking declarations that ITSCI "abused its dominant position" and "engaged in anti-competitive practices," and that its exclusion from the ITSCI programme was "illegal or ...effected arbitrarily".
"We have chosen the CAT because this is about anti-competitive practices that have caused damage, and they need to be answered. We are confident in our case," said Brian Beckett, CEO of Kerilee Investments Ltd, in an emailed statement.
Kerilee also seeks an injunction restraining ITSCI from issuing communiques, alerts, or directives with regards to its commercial activity, according to the Tribunal document.
In May 2019 Kerilee sued the ITA in Uganda for defamation over alerts issued by ITSCI in December 2017 and January 2018. The Uganda High Court in April last year ruled the subject matter of the dispute was outside its jurisdiction.