Following the purported cancellation of SL Mining’s Licence, the ICC Arbitral Tribunal issued an order on 25 November 2019, which the Company has described in a Statement dated 27 November 2019. The Government failed to comply with that Order and instead aggravated the dispute with SL Mining. The Government’s non-compliance and aggravating misconduct has led the ICC Arbitral Tribunal to issue, at SL Mining’s request, a Peremptory Order on 13 February 2020 in which the Tribunal:
- Ordered the Government to rescind the purported cancellation of SL Mining’s Licence or otherwise to reinstate it.
- Declared that the Government failed to comply with the ICC Emergency Arbitrator’s orders dated 30 August 2019, 8 September 2018, 4 October 2019 and 9 October 2019.
- Declared that the Government failed to comply with the ICC Tribunal’s interim order dated 4 November 2019.
- Ordered that, until ordered otherwise and pending the final resolution of the dispute by the Tribunal:
- The Government lifts any prohibition on shipping or export of minerals directed at SL Mining;
- The parties continue to comply with their obligations under clause 6.9(d) of the Large Scale Licence Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and SL Mining Limited dated 5 December 2017;
- The parties refrain from aggravating and take no steps to aggravate the dispute between them;
- The Government shall refrain from:
- removing, dealing with, or otherwise interfering, directly or via third parties, with SL Mining’s assets, including equipment and stockpiles of iron ore, in relation with SL Mining’s Marampa iron ore project;
- directly or indirectly operating itself, or allowing third parties to operate, the Marampa Project;
- taking any steps towards the issuance of a mining licence and/or entry into a mining lease agreement relating to the Marampa Project or any part thereof to and/or with a third party; and
- otherwise altering the status quo as of immediately before receipt of the letter purportedly cancelling the Licence.
A peremptory order is a final order made by a tribunal specifying a time for compliance. It brings with it a number of adverse legal consequences for the Government. The ICC Tribunal also found that “pursuant to the arbitration agreement between the Parties, as ratified by Parliament, “any decision” of this Tribunal “is final and binding and enforceable” and has “the same force and effect as a judgment of a court of the last resort of the Republic of Sierra Leone or any other appropriate jurisdiction.” SL Mining will not hesitate to take legal action against third parties who infringe its rights in relation to the Marampa Project.