The bone of contention is the Bhukia joint venture project. Panthera said it has been “consistently frustrated over an extended period” by the government of Rajasthan, which has rejected Panthera’s application for a prospecting licence for the project.
The AIM-listed company has an interim “Stay Order” from the Rajasthan High Court in place while the matter is sorted in the High Court of Rajasthan.
Fasken will also review and advise the company on its potential dispute under the Australia-India Bilateral Investment Treaty of 26 February 1999 (ABIT) in relation to Bhukia.
“The Bhukia project is an outstanding Tier 1 undeveloped gold project and significant asset of your company,” managing director Mark Bolton told Panthera shareholders.
“Following the recent successful US$1.2 billion international arbitration award in favour of Cairn Energy PLC against the Government of India conducted under a similar bilateral investment treaty, it is essential that Panthera consider all of its rights pertaining to its investments in India.
“Today’s appointment of Fasken is the first step to consider our options available to exercise our legal rights under the ABIT. Under ABIT, the compensation may be computed on the basis of the market value of the investment,” Bolton explained.
In an ideal world, however, Panthera would like “an amicable and timely resolution of the dispute through negotiations.”
Shares in Panthera were up 2.7% at 19p in early dealings.