EuroGas sues state for USD3.2 billion over halted talc mining

US company EuroGas has sued Slovakia and in an international arbitration, for compensation amounting to USD 3.2 billion US dollars (€2.35 billion), the Austrian Die Presse daily wrote.

US company EuroGas has sued Slovakia and in an international arbitration, for compensation amounting to USD 3.2 billion US dollars (€2.35 billion), the Austrian Die Presse daily wrote.

The lawsuit has concerns a big, lucrative deposit of talc in Gemerská Poloma. On June 25, EuroGas filed a lawsuit against the Slovak Republic before the International Centre for Solving Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank (SB) in Washington. The company asked for a compensation of marred revenues that it would have, if the mining of talc started in 2007 as originally planned, as calculated by the KPMG auditing company. Experts opine that the specific damage can be calculated at €200 million.

So far, Slovak government has not commented on the case more in detail; and the Finance Ministry told Die Presse that it does not know about the lawsuit.

EuroGas got the mining license for talc in 1998, but in 2005, it was withdrawn. The Austrian daily commented that the case shows doubtful steps in the transition period after the fall of communism. Finally a mail-box company part of the the Austrian Schmid-Holding (SIH) company acquired the license and has since then invested about 30 million euros in the deposit. Company head, Robert Schmid, stressed that the case has no direct connection to SIH, but can negatively impact its business.

Slovak Supreme Court ruled twice that it was unlawful to withdraw the mining license of EuroGas. The threat of suit made Slovakia show readiness to negotiate a compromise, and Finance Ministry state secretary Peter Pellegrini allegedly travelled to Vienna in April to meet secretly representatives of EuroGas; but no agreement was reached.

EuroGas has been threatening with arbitration since 2010, and in 2012, the EuroGas Inc., registered in the US, has joined the suit, according to the TASR newswire. EuroGas cited the violation of rights stemming form the treaty between then Czechoslovak Federative Republic and the US from 1991 concerning protection of investments; however, Slovak Finance Ministry last year denied any violation of the treaty.

The talc deposit in Gemerská Poloma was discovered by chance in 1985, and thanks to the raw material’s good quality and purity, it is considered one of the most important in the world.

(Source: Die Presse, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

Top stories

The referendum is said to protect traditional families.
Politics & society

Turnout key to referendum result

EVEN amid heated discussion about the content of a February 7 referendum targeting the constitutional definition of family, experts say the biggest test for supporters of the Alliance for Family (AZR) ballot initiative is whether turnout surpasses the required 50-percent quorum of eligible voters.

26. Jan 2015
Alžbeta Petoová, daughter of awarded Arpád and Alžbeta Hajdu, Alexander Ben-Zvi and consul of Izrael in Slovakia Avital Gershon (from left).
International

Ten more Slovaks recognised as Righteous Among the Nations

ANOTHER 10 Slovaks have received the Righteous Among the Nations award, the highest honour given to a non-Jew by the State of Israel and Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum for saving Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.

29. Jan 2015
The second pillar will open, again.
Business

More changes for second pillar

IN RESPONSE to the small payments going to the first pensioners-to-be from the second, private, pension pillar, Prime Minister Robert Fico says he will look for ways to allow those savers to move their money back into the state pension programme.

26. Jan 2015
Defence Ministry is now seeking dozens of all-terrain Land Rover vehicles.
Politics & society

Land Rovers top army wish list

AFTER series of controversial purchases for the army, the Defence Ministry is now seeking dozens of all-terrain Land Rover vehicles, the Defence Ministry confirmed on January 16.

26. Jan 2015