Natural Resources

Government Regulatory Space in the Shadow of BITs: The Case of Tanzania’s Natural Resource Regulatory Reform

Tanzania passed three new laws in July 2017 that significantly change the regulatory landscape governing natural resources. The reforms are aimed at ensuring that foreign investment benefits Tanzanian citizens.From an African perspective, this article argues that it is time to rethink investment treaty regimes to ensure that they do not hinder much-needed reforms.

Awards  |  December 21, 2017

Canadian mining company awarded sunk costs only in compensation for Peruvian expropriation

Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/21

International Natural Resources Law, Investment and Sustainability

This work examines the relationship between the institutions that govern foreign investment, sustainable development, and the rules and regulations that administer natural resources.

Can Foreign Investors Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations? International Human Rights Law and Beyond

Host states have had the challenge to protect their citizens from human rights violations caused by multinationals. This paper explains the bases of states’ obligations under international human rights law and how foreign investors may be held responsible.

Awards  |  September 26, 2017

ICSID tribunal awards roughly USD380 million in compensation for illegal expropriation by Ecuador

Burlington Resources Inc. v. Republic of Ecuador, ICSID Case No. ARB/08/5

Awards  |  September 26, 2017

Ecuador awarded USD41 million in counterclaim against U.S. oil and gas company Burlington Resources

Burlington Resources Inc. v. Republic of Ecuador, ICSID Case No. ARB/08/5

ITN  |  March 13, 2017

Awards and Decisions

ICSID tribunal dismisses claims brought against Indonesia based on forged mining licences Churchill Mining PLC and Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and ICSID Case No. ARB/12/40 Inaê Siqueira de Oliveira [*] After rendering separate decisions on jurisdiction¾one for the case brought by British company Churchill Mining PLC under the United […]

ICSID tribunal dismisses claims brought against Indonesia based on forged mining licences

Churchill Mining PLC and Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and ICSID Case No. ARB/12/40  After rendering separate decisions on jurisdiction—one for the case brought by British company Churchill Mining PLC under the United Kingdom–Indonesia bilateral investment treaty (BIT), and another for Australian company Planet Mining Pty. Ltd.’s case under […]

Renco failed to comply with formal waiver requirement under U.S.–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement

Renco Group Inc. v Republic of Peru, UNCT/13/1 An arbitral tribunal under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) declared that U.S.-based investor Renco Group Inc. (Renco) failed to comply with the waiver requirement under the United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA). Accordingly, the tribunal declined to exercise jurisdiction […]

Pac Rim v. El Salvador: all claims dismissed; OceanaGold to pay US$8 million in costs

Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador, ICSID Case No. ARB/09/12 On October 14, 2016, a tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) dismissed on their merits all claims by Pac Rim Cayman LLC (Pac Rim) against El Salvador. The tribunal ordered the mining company—currently owned by Australian-Canadian OceanaGold—to […]

Special and Differential Treatment in International Investment Agreements

Special and Differential Treatment (S&D), originally forged in the trade regime, has evolved in trade negotiations and gained momentum in investment agreements, to provide greater flexibility for developing countries based on their needs and capabilities.

ITN  |  December 12, 2016

Awards and Decisions

Venezuela to Pay Us$1 Billion For Expropriating Canadian Mining Company’s Investment

ICSID Tribunal dismisses MFN Clause in WTO GATS as a means of importing Senegal’s consent to arbitration from third party BIT

PCA tribunal deemed acts of Polish Agricultural Property Agency not attributable to Poland

Claimant not considered Investor due to interpretation of “Seat” under Cyprus–Montenegro BIT

Ecuador’s Levy on extraordinary oil profits at a 99% rate has breached Murphy’s legitimate expectations, decides PCA tribunal

Ecuador ordered by PCA tribunal to pay $24 million to Canadian Mining Company

Awards  |  December 12, 2016

Claimant not considered investor due to interpretation of “seat” under Cyprus–Montenegro BIT

CEAC Holdings Limited v Montenegro, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/14/8 – Maria Florencia Sarmiento

News  |  August 4, 2015

Bolivia promulgates Conciliation and Arbitration Law with regime for investor–state disputes 

On June 25, 2015, Bolivian President Evo Morales promulgated Law No. 708 on Conciliation and Arbitration, creating a Special Arbitration Regime for resolving investor-state disputes.

UNCITRAL tribunal finds Canada’s environmental assessment breached international minimum standard of treatment and national treatment standard

William Ralph Clayton, William Richard Clayton, Douglas Clayton, Daniel Clayton and Bilcon of Delaware Inc. v. Government of Canada, UNCITRAL

ITN  |  January 14, 2013

Awards and Decisions

US$1.76 billion dollar award levied against Ecuador in dispute with Occidental; tribunal split over damages   Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Occidental Exploration and Production Company v. The Republic of Ecuador, ICSID Case No. ARB/06/11 Damon Vis-Dunbar The Republic of Ecuador has been ordered to pay US$1,769,625,000 billion in damages—the largest award to be handed down […]

ITN  |  January 14, 2013

News in Brief

Canada receives investor complaints over provincial energy and environment policies In recent months the government of Canada has received two complaints related to energy and environmental policies adopted by its provinces. Both investors have served Ottawa with notices of intent to submit a claim to arbitration under NAFTA’s investment chapter. A Delaware-based energy firm is […]

ITN  |  July 19, 2012

News in Brief

Vattenfall launches new claim against Germany The Swedish state-run energy firm Vattenfall has launched a second claim against Germany. The claim stems from Germany’s May 2011 decision to phase-out its nuclear power plants, in which 8 plants have been shuttered and the remaining 9 plants to be closed over the next decade. While Germany has […]

Going public to improve investment in agriculture

The public began to hunger for information about investment in the agriculture sector when a massive wave of foreign investment in farmland and water was triggered, in 2008, by a confluence of the biofuels boom, global food crisis, sharp spike in oil prices and the financial crisis. Alarming information started to emerge in the media. […]

Rethinking investor-state contracts through a sustainable development lens

In recent years, economic liberalisation, improved transport and communication systems, and the global demand for energy, minerals and agricultural commodities have fostered investment in agriculture, mining and petroleum projects in many poorer countries. For some commentators, this trend provides new opportunities to promote growth, generate public revenues and create employment in countries that have limited […]

Foreign investment contracts in the oil & gas sector: A survey of environmentally relevant clauses

The oil and gas industry faces increasingly strict environmental standards in developed countries. However, the majority of the world’s proven oil reserves are in developing countries and economies in transition, which often lack sophisticated regimes for environmental protection. Even when legislative frameworks are well developed, there are often deficiencies in capacity and an unwillingness to […]

ITN  |  October 7, 2011

Awards and Decisions

Mass claim in Argentine bond dispute is granted ICSID jurisdiction Abaclat and Others (Case formerly known as Giovanna A Beccara and Others) and The Argentine Republic, Decision on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, ICSID Case No. Arb/07/5 Damon Vis-Dunbar An ICSID tribunal has accepted jurisdiction to hear a claim by tens of thousands of Italians who claim […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

Awards and Decisions

Swiss claimant fails jurisdictional stage for not qualifying as an ‘investor’ Alps Finance and Trade AG v. Slovak Republic Damon Vis-Dunbar A claim against the government of Slovakia has failed after a three-member tribunal declined jurisdiction. The tribunal determined that the claimant was not an “investor” as intended by the Switzerland-Slovakia bilateral investment treaty. In […]

Foreign investment contracts and sustainable development: The new foundations begin to emerge

Two international projects relating to foreign investment and sustainable development (SD) were completed in the past two months. These two projects individually and together show the emerging pathways to properly considering the linkages between new investments and SD in the host state and community. The first of these projects to be launched, on 4 April […]

ITN  |  April 7, 2011

News in Brief

Working group moves slowly on agreement for transparency in UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules A working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) met from 7-11 February 2011 in New York to discuss public access to information about disputes between investors and states under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The meeting marked the second […]

ITN  |  April 7, 2011

Awards and decisions

UK firm victorious in dispute with Russia, but damages much less than claimed RosInvestCo UK Ltd.  v. The Russian Federation, SCC Case No. Arb. V079/2005 Lise Johnson In an award dated 12 September 2010, the tribunal in RosInvestCo v. Russian Federation issued an award in which it found that the Russian Federation had unlawfully expropriated […]

ITN  |  December 16, 2010

Awards and decisions

Georgia loses dispute with Greek and Israeli oil investors Ioannis Kardassopoulos and Ron Fuchs v. The Republic of Georgia (ICSID Case Nos. ARB/05/18 and ARB/07/15) Martin D. Brauch Two oil traders have been awarded more than US$45 million each in damages from the Republic of Georgia in an ICSID award that advances a broad interpretation […]

A global thirst: How water is driving the new wave of foreign investment in farmland

It is no longer a secret that there is a new wave of foreign investment in farmland, predominantly in Africa. An explosion of media reports and a series of studies by the World Bank, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), have confirmed the scale and consequences of this new influx of foreign investment. The World Bank report, by far the most comprehensive, found that reported deals amounted to 45 million hectares in 2009 alone.

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

The IBA’s Model Mining Development Agreement: A new paradigm for natural resource projects

IISD In October 2009, at its annual meeting in Madrid, the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association launched a project to develop a Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA).  The MMDA was conceived to provide a different starting point for the negotiation of mining contracts between host governments and mining companies, one based expressly […]

ITN  |  March 16, 2010

NEWS UPDATE: NY Judge dismisses Ecuador request for stay of Chevron arbitration

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz March 16, 2010 Judge Leonard Sand of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted Chevron’s motion to dismiss Ecuador’s request to stay the company’s arbitration against the Andean nation at the Court of Arbitration in The Hague.  In his March 11 ruling, Judge Sand held […]

ITN  |  March 10, 2010

Ecuadorians battle Chevron in U.S. court over BIT arbitration in long-running environmental damage dispute

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz March 11, 2010 Chevron and Ecuadorian citizens are in U.S. court in the latest chapter of a 16 year battle over environmental damage in Lago Agrio allegedly caused by Texaco Petroleum (TexPet), which Chevron acquired in 2001.  In January of this year, a group of Ecuadorian plaintiffs which is suing the […]

ITN  |  March 10, 2010

Canadian mining firm accused of links to murder of protester, threatens arbitration over mine closure in Chiapas

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz March 11, 2010 Calgary-based mining firm Blackfire Exploration has reportedly threatened Mexican officials in Chiapas with NAFTA Chapter 11 arbitration in response to the closure of its barite mine in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.  The mine’s closure came on the heels of intense local protests against the mine following […]

ITN  |  December 4, 2009

Canadian mining company Gold Reserve commences ICSID arbitration against Venezuela

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz December 6, 2009 Canadian mining company Gold Reserve has commenced arbitration against Venezuela at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over the alleged expropriation of its Brisas gold and copper mine in the Bolivar State of Venezuela. Less than a week after the company filed for arbitration on […]

ITN  |  December 4, 2009

An End to European mining claims in South Africa?

By Elizabeth Whitsitt December 6, 2009 On November 2, 2009 claimants in the high-profile arbitration involving mining interests owned by Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others against the Republic of South Africa requested the discontinuance of ICSID arbitral proceedings that have been ongoing since the beginning of 2007. The request comes approximately one month […]

ITN  |  December 4, 2009

In Brief: Rumors of a dispute between Ukrainian and Viennese firms over natural gas surface

By Elizabeth Whitsitt December 6, 2009 Murmurings that Centragas Beteiligungs Holding AG has accused the Ukraine of violating “an agreement on the Energy Charter” surfaced in mid-November.* According to press reports, the Viennese firm, which holds a 50% interest in Swiss gas distribution company RosUkrEnergo (RUE), alleges that the Ukranian oil and gas company, Naftohaz […]

ITN  |  November 1, 2009

Innovative Steps are Introduced Into Non-Disputing Party ICSID Procedure

By Elizabeth Whitsitt November 3, 2009 In a high-profile arbitration involving mining interests owned by Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others versus the Republic of South Africa, an ICSID tribunal (the “Tribunal”) has accepted two petitions for participation by Non-Disputing Parties (“NDPs”) and imposed innovative procedural steps regarding document disclosure and participant feedback. In […]

ITN  |  November 1, 2009

Quiborax claim against Bolivia continues; may provide first decision on effects of ICSID exit

By Fernando Cabrera November 3, 2009 Chilean Química e Industrial del Bórax Ltd. (“Quiborax”) will continue with its claim against Bolivia at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (“ICSID”), despite reports of a settlement agreement and Bolivia’s renunciation of the ICSID convention. The case will likely shed the first light as to the […]

ITN  |  November 1, 2009

Confusion about Settlement Agreement leads to Dismissal of Case Between Dutch Companies and Azerbaijan

By Elizabeth Whitsitt November 3, 2009 After a disagreement regarding the existence of a settlement agreement, an ICSID tribunal has determined that it has no jurisdiction to hear a dispute initiated by three Dutch companies, Azpetrol International Holdings B.V., Azpetrol Group B.V. and Azpetrol Oil Services Group B.V. against the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Dutch […]

ITN  |  November 1, 2009

F-W Oil Interests Inc. v. Republic of Trinidad & Tobago: A “Relatively Mundane Dispute” after all?

By Elizabeth Whitsitt November 3, 2009 More than three years ago, on March 3, 2006, Texas-based energy company, F-W Oil Interests Inc. (“FWO”) lost its fight against the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (“T&T”) arising out of alleged breaches of the 1996 US investment protection treaty with the Caribbean nation (the “USA/T&T BIT”). � The […]

ITN  |  October 10, 2009

An ICSID Tribunal Introduces Innovative Steps Into Non-Disputing Party Procedure

  By Elizabeth Whitsitt October 11, 2009 In a high-profile arbitration involving mining interests owned by Piero Foresti, Laura de Carli and others versus the Republic of South Africa, an ICSID tribunal (the “Tribunal”) has accepted two petitions for participation by Non-Disputing Parties (“NDPs”) and imposed unprecedented procedural steps regarding document disclosure and participant feedback.  […]

ITN  |  October 1, 2009

Chevron launches investment-treaty claim against Ecuador

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 2 October 2009 Correction: The original headline in this article stated that Chevron Corporation alleges a denial of justice on the part of Ecuador. Chevron explains that this is incorrect. While Chevron claims that Ecuador “abuses the criminal justice system”, its notice of arbitration does not assert a denial of justice. The world’s second […]

ITN  |  September 28, 2009

Oral arguments held in ICJ dispute over pulp mills on the River Uruguay

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 2 October 2009 Oral arguments have been held at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the dispute between Argentina and Uruguay over the latter’s authorization of paper mills on their shared River Uruguay.  As per its custom, the ICJ released daily transcripts of the hearings which took place between 14 […]

ITN  |  September 28, 2009

Ad Hoc Committee confirms Argentina is on the hook to Azurix for US$165 Million

By Elizabeth Whitsitt 2 October 2009 Marking a final setback for Argentina in its protracted dispute with US-based water services firm Azurix Corp, on 1 September 2009 an ad hoc committee denied Argentina’s application to annul an ICSID tribunal’s previous decision awarding Azurix approximately US$165 Million for breach of Argentina’s obligations under the US-Argentina Bilateral […]

ITN  |  August 31, 2009

El Salvador government considers ban on mining as permit freeze leads to CAFTA arbitration

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 2 September 2009 El Salvador’s ruling FMLN party is considering a ban on precious metal mining in response to public opposition to perceived environmental degradation.  The government of El Salvador has not issued mining permits for two years, and as a result is now facing two arbitration claims before the International […]

ITN  |  August 31, 2009

Tribunal dismisses claim by Europe Cement against Turkey; Claimant ordered to bear cost of the arbitration

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 2 September 2009 An ICSID tribunal has rendered a decision after finding itself in the unusual position of facing requests from both the Claimant and Respondent for a claim to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. In its ruling* dated 13 August 2009, the Tribunal declined jurisdiction, albeit on a basis aligned […]

ITN  |  July 15, 2009

Greenpeace pressures German government for transparency in Vattenfall dispute

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 15 July 2009 Arbitration proceedings between the Government of Germany and the Swedish energy utility Vattenfall should be conducted transparently, argue a coalition of non-governmental organizations. Greenpeace Germany and the World Economy, Ecology and Development organization are pressing the German Government to reverse its policy of not commenting or disclosing information related […]

ITN  |  July 14, 2009

Arbitrators clash on question of interpretation in Hrvatska Electroprivreda d.d. v. The Republic of Slovenia

By Elizabeth Whitsitt 15 July 2009 On 12 June 2009 the majority of a Tribunal convened pursuant to a Request for Arbitration under the ICSID Arbitration Rules issued a partial award finding the Republic of Slovenia  liable (subject to further proceedings)* to Hrvatska Electroprivreda d.d. (HEP), the national electric company of Croatia, for the financial […]

ITN  |  July 14, 2009

Glamis Gold Ltd. v. United States of America: Tribunal sets a high bar for establishing breach of “Fair and Equitable Treatment” under NAFTA

By Elizabeth Whitsitt and Damon Vis-Dunbar 15 July 2009 A protracted dispute between the United States of America and Glamis Gold Ltd., a Canadian gold mining company, was settled in June by an arbitral tribunal constituted under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. In a unanimous 355-page decision, the Tribunal dismissed Glamis’ claims that the US expropriated […]

ITN  |  July 13, 2009

ICSID tribunal accepts Ecuador’s objections to jurisdiction in dispute with electricity firm

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 15 July 2009 A tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has accepted Ecuador’s objections to jurisdiction in an arbitration commenced by Empresa Eléctrica del Ecuador, Inc (EMELEC). In a ruling handed down on June 2 the tribunal held that the claimant Mr.  Miguel Lluco was not […]

ITN  |  July 13, 2009

Venezuela consents to arbitration in new BIT with Russia

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 15 July 2009 A new bilateral investment treaty between Venezuela and Russia provides consent to international arbitration for settling disputes pursuant to the treaty, despite President Chavez’s criticism of international investor-to-state arbitration. Article 9 of the Russia-Venezuela BIT, published in Venezuela’s Official Gazette on 2 June 2009, allows investors to elect […]