Burkina Faso is set to end a USD 1-bn deal with Romanian tycoon Frank Timis

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Burkina Faso wants to put an end to a contract with the company of Romanian-Australian tycoon Frank Timis to develop one of the world’s biggest manganese mines, Mines Minister Idani Oumarou said on state television, capital.ro informs, quoting Reuters.

Timis’s Pan African Burkina Limited (PAB) acquired the rights to the Tambao mine which it says holds 100 million tonnes of manganese reserves, in June 2012. PAB says it has invested over USD 100 million developing the mine, but it has been involved in a legal wrangle with the government over its permit.

“The state of Burkina Faso is going to terminate the contract with Timis Mining Corp. But it must send them a first notice of default. The contract will be terminated 90 days after the formal notice, which hasn’t yet been made,” Idani Oumarou stated.

The government of Burkina Faso’s long-time ruler Blaise Compaore, which agreed the deal with PAB in 2012, was overthrown two years later. In January 2015 the new government suspended the company’s export permit, saying some licences had been previously awarded in an opaque manner, though it later lifted that suspension.

Timis’s Pan African Minerals Group is seeking USD 385 million from Burkina Faso via arbitration, accusing authorities of blocking development of the mine.

In February, Burkina Faso started to look for a new partner to develop the Tambao deposit, claiming there was a “break in confidence” between the country and Pan Africa Burkina, as investingnews.com informs. The West African country hopes the mine will generate revenue that could be invested elsewhere in the region.

This conflict is not the first time Tambao has caused issues. The mine was the focus of an earlier rights dispute between Burkina Faso and Dubai-based Wadi al Rawda Investments, which was settled in 2013.

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