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Chinese mining company takes Sierra Leone government to court over licence cancellation

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The Chinese mining giant, Shandong, is challenging the cancellation of its mining licence by the Sierra Leone government.

Media reports published on Thursday, 15 August 2019, indicate that Shandong has filed a suit at the country’s High Court, seeking the overturning of the decision by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources that saw it stripped of two licences for large scale mining and the operation of a railway and port services.

Shandong acquired the licences through its subsidiary – Shansteel Sierra Leone Limited – which operated the Tonkolili Iron Ore project and the African Railway and Ports Services (APRS).

Media reports cited court documents quoting attorneys of Shandong saying they were seeking a judicial review and nullification of the government’s decision.

The company, which is represented by the law firm Lambert and Partners, is also asking that the costs of and incidental to the action be paid by the respondent.

The case is before the Fast Track Commercial Court and Admiralty Division of the High Court.

Shandong was sanctioned alongside another major iron ore miner, SL Mining, which was slammed with an indefinite suspension for offenses related to failure to meet financial obligations.

On Wednesday, 14 August 2019, the Ministry announced conditions under which the suspension of SLM Mining, a US-owned company, can be reversed.

They include the immediate payment of a one-million-dollar Performance Bond to the government.

SL Mining says it will not accept those terms, describing the move by the ministry as unlawful.



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