El Salvador freezes OceanaGold assets
When the gold mining company OceanaGold lost its international arbitration with the government of El Salvador, it was ordered to pay $8 million in legal fees incurred by El Salvador to defend the case. Yet so far, the company has not honored its obligation to pay those fees.
This week El Salvador took the step of freezing OceanaGold's assets in the country as a way to gain some of that payment. From Reuters:
El Salvador froze bank accounts and assets belonging to OceanaGold Corp after the mining company refused to pay the country $8 million as mandated by an international court, the Attorney General's Office said on Tuesday.
Last year, El Salvador won an arbitration at the World Bank's International Center for Settlements of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the Australian-Canadian mining firm, which sought $250 million from the Central American nation for revoking an extraction permit....
The asset freeze was authorized by the Supreme Court to ensure payment compliance.Today, OceanaGold issued a statement disputing the propriety of the asset freeze:
It includes three bank accounts valued at nearly $200,000, seven vehicles and nine properties located in the municipality of San Isidro Cabañas, 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) northeast of the capital, where the company carried out exploration projects.
Australian-Canadian miner OceanaGold Corp said on Thursday that El Salvador has no legal basis for restricting its unit in the Central American country while it evaluates next steps in a dispute over extraction rights....
"The Company is currently evaluating its next steps in-line with the ICSID tribunal allowed timelines," OceanaGold said in a statement. "There are no legal grounds for restricting the El Salvador subsidiary company's activities during this period."A check this morning on the ICSID arbitration tribunal website showed no more proceedings pending and every matter concluded as of March 28, 2017, so it's not clear what "next steps" OceanGold could be contemplating There are no appeals from these arbitration decisions.