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CHL - Churchill Mining News Story

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Churchill Mining and Indonesia in talks on settling coal dispute -source

Mon 8th June, 2015 9:18am
JAKARTA, June 8 (Reuters) - London-listed Churchill Mining 
 CHLL.L  and the Indonesian government are holding talks aimed 
at reaching a settlement over a long-running dispute for one of 
the world's biggest coal reserves, a source familiar with the 
negotiations said. 
    Churchill has been embroiled in an international arbitration 
battle since 2012 with Indonesia over the licensing of the East 
Kalimantan coal project that is estimated by the firm to contain 
2.73 billion tonnes of coal reserves.  ID:nL3N0YR1RK  
    The protracted battle comes at a time when Indonesia's 
government under President Joko Widodo has been trying to 
encourage more foreign investment to revive slowing growth in 
Southeast Asia's biggest economy. 
    A source familiar with the talks did not give details on 
negotiations but said there was an "open channel" between the 
mining firm and the government. 
    "Based on the talks that we're having, I'd be confident that 
there will be a settlement, but it's a question of what 
Churchill shareholders think will be the right amount," said the 
source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity 
of the situation.  
    The case revolves around the disputed ownership of the 
350-square-km (135-square-mile) mine site in East Kutai, which 
the British miner says is worth around $1.5 billion.    
    The source said that while talks were ongoing, the legal or 
arbitration route would continue. 
    Churchill has spent more than $10 million on its legal bid 
after claiming that it had been unfairly stripped of its 
licences and accused of fraud. 
     A verdict in the arbitration case was previously expected 
in 2016, but the mining firm's shares have soared by 50 percent 
after it issued a statement last week saying Indonesia was no 
longer alleging it was involved in fraud.  
    Indonesia's attorney general's office could not be reached 
for comment on the issue and Churchill's Australian office did 
not immediately respond to a request for comment.  
 (Reporting by Michael Taylor; Editing by Ed Davies) 
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