World Wide Comments on Kazakhstan Arbitration

World Wide Comments on Kazakhstan Arbitration

World Wide Minerals Ltd. today commented on current developments in its long-running arbitration with Kazakhstan involving its investments in that country in 1996 – 1997. The issues in the arbitration relate to default by Kazakhstan in repaying loans made to Kazakhstan in 1996-1997 as well as losses suffered by World Wide in Kazakhstan and the net value of uranium deposits and related assets that World Wide had the right to acquire. The arbitration was commenced in 2006 and has been conducted under UN Arbitration Rules.

In October, 2008, World Wide appointed the initial arbitrator in a panel of three. The Republic of Kazakhstan (ROK) and its nuclear agency, Kazatomprom, then jointly appointed a second arbitrator. The two arbitrators were to appoint a third arbitrator before the end of 2008. In the meantime World Wide and its legal counsel were assembling evidence for the commencement of the substantive arbitration itself.

In September, 2009 the initial arbitration was put on hold when World Wide and the ROK chose to simplify the process by appointing a mutually agreed, sole arbitrator to determine certain preliminary and substantive issues in connection with the November, 1996 Loan Agreement. This was done. Written submissions were made by both parties, an oral hearing was held in London (UK) in December, 2009 (to deal with certain preliminary issues) and a second oral hearing was held in Brussels (Belgium) in July, 2010 (to deal with the remaining issues). At the July hearing the arbitrator reserved his decision.

The arbitrator’s written decision on the issues debated at the July 2010 hearing was delivered to the parties at the end of the year, in a Final Award dated December 22, 2010. In the Final Award, the arbitrator (1) confirmed that he had jurisdiction over all of the claims related to the Loan Agreement, including claims for breach of the Foreign Investment Law and for breach of customary international law, but (2) decided that all of the claims were time-barred under the general three-year limitations period under Kazakh law. On this basis, the arbitrator dismissed all of World Wide’s claims.

On January 20, 2011, World Wide filed a request with the arbitrator for a supplementary award, on the grounds that the arbitrator had failed to consider the claims under the Foreign Investment Law and under customary international law for illegal conduct of state bodies and officials that was not and could not have been discovered prior to September 2004. The arbitrator denied World Wide’s request in a written decision dated March 16, 2011.

Since 1998, World Wide has invested millions of dollars of its own capital in an attempt to recover its investment and damages for lost opportunity. It also entered into agreements with unrelated parties, including law firms, to pay costs contingent upon recovery of the claims. At this time, World Wide has no further resources with which to continue its efforts to recover its losses against either ROK or Kazatomprom.

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