S'pore counsel leads team in SIAC case over $629m Philippine project

Singapore's Senior Counsel Davinder Singh led a team for the winning Australian party. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) administered in August a case involving a US$463 million (S$629 million) mining project in the Philippines, which saw Singapore's Senior Counsel Davinder Singh leading a team for the winning Australian party.

Veteran Singaporean arbitrator Alan Thambiayah also served on the three-member panel of arbitrators.

In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange on Aug 24, Perth-based RTG Mining announced that its subsidiary, Mt Labo Exploration and Development, won the international arbitration case against Galeo Equipment Corporation at the SIAC. The practical effect of the arbitration award is that Galeo is not a shareholder of Mt Labo, and the joint venture enterprise has been terminated.

RTG's board said: "This will see Mt Labo's percentage interest in the project rise from 58 per cent to 100 per cent once the formalities are completed, and the award is a resounding vindication of Mt Labo's position."

The tribunal in the 2-1 decision also dismissed all of Galeo's counterclaims and ordered Galeo to pay damages of about US$18.6 million (plus interest at 6 per cent) and legal costs, including the tribunal's fees of about $7.45 million.

RTG said the total monetary award in favour of Mt Labo is about A$33.6 million (S$32.3 million) plus interest.

The dispute involved a mining project in Luzon that was to be developed in a joint venture between Mt Labo and Galeo based on a contract. But the project soured and in 2017, Mt Labo cancelled a settlement agreement and sought arbitration at the SIAC before a tribunal.

"The resolution of this matter by the tribunal has been timely, with many in the Philippines now acknowledging a desire to refocus on the mining industry to assist in restimulating the Philippine economy after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic," said the RTG board.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2020, with the headline S'pore counsel leads team in SIAC case over $629m Philippine project. Subscribe