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Court dismisses Pan African's US$2.2B claim against Burkina Faso over Tambao

A Paris court dismissed the US$2.2 billion claim lodged by Pan African Minerals Ltd. against Burkina Faso over control of the Tambao manganese mine, Reuters reported on March 14, citing the West African country's government.

The company acquired the rights to Tambao in 2012, and said that it has invested over US$100 million into its development. However, it has been in a legal battle with the government over its permit.

Pan African Minerals filed a claim with the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration in late 2016, accusing Burkinabe officials of blocking Tambao's development. While the court case was pending, the government terminated its contract with Pan African for Tambao in April 2018, after stating in February that year that it was looking for a new partner for the project.

The Paris court found that "the termination of the contract by Burkina was valid and justified in law," government spokesman Remi Dandjinon told Reuters.

Tambao is believed to be one of the largest manganese mines in the world, with Pan African Minerals claiming that it holds 100 million tonnes of manganese reserves. However, the company won the contract for the mine in 2012 under Burkina Faso's long-time ruler Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown two years later. The new authorities claimed that some licenses were awarded in an opaque manner.