Panthera Resources PLC (LON:PAT) has noted that the Government of India has introduced a new bill (MMDR2021) into the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Government of India’s Parliament, to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 2015 (MMDR2015).
In the event this new MMDR2021 act is passed by both houses of Parliament, Panthera believes that it may have an impact on its joint venture partner, Metal Mining India Pvt Ltd (MMI), in terms of its right to secure approval of its Prospecting Licence Applications (PLAs) for the Bhukia and Taregaon Projects in India.
The company made its initial investment in Bhukia, through its 95% owned Australian subsidiary, Indo Gold Pty Limited, in 2005.
The company’s rights to be granted a prospecting Licence over Bhukia, through its joint venture partner, have been consistently frustrated over an extended period by the Government of Rajasthan.
Tthe Prospecting Licence Application over Bhukia was again rejected in August 2018. The company subsequently obtained an interim Stay Order from the Rajasthan High Court which remains in place subject to ongoing proceedings there.
“The Bhukia project is an outstanding Tier 1 undeveloped gold project and a significant asset of our company,” said Panthera’s managing director Mark Bolton.
“While the company will actively seek the approval of the Bhukia Prospecting Licence, it is essential that it considers all of its rights pertaining to its investments in India. The recent appointment of Fasken ensures that it is well-positioned to consider all of its options. It is believed that our company’s position is strengthened following the recent successful US$1.4bn international arbitration award in favour of Cairn Energy PLC against the Government of India conducted under a similar bilateral investment treaty.”
The MMDR2021 bill has not been passed and there can be no certainty on the timing or the application of the bill on the company at this stage.