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Landmark victory for the republic of guinea in multi-billion dollar investment arbitration – a testament to the role the African legal support facility (ALSF) in providing legal capacity to African countries

On May 18, 2022, an ICSID arbitral tribunal rendered an historic award in favour of the Republic of Guinea in an arbitration instituted by BSG Resources Limited group and its subsidiaries (BSGR) against the Republic of Guinea in respect of the largest high grade untapped iron deposit in the world, in Guinea’s Simandou region.

The ICSID tribunal unequivocally rejected all the claims brought by BSGR, which alleged that the Republic of Guinea had expropriated its mining rights for exploitation of the Simandou and adjacent Zogota deposits. BSGR had demanded payment of several billion US dollars in compensation for the alleged expropriation. Upholding the position of the Republic of Guinea in full, the ICSID tribunal recognized that BSGR acquired these rights through a vast scheme of corruption implemented mainly between 2006 and 2010.

The Republic of Guinea was represented in this arbitration by the law firms DLA Piper and Asafo & Co (which took over from Orrick) with the support of the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF). The ALSF’s intervention in this arbitration proceeding is subsequent to a previous assistance provided to the Republic of Guinea in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the review of 19 mining conventions and titles.

The ALSF and the Republic of Guinea are delighted by the positive outcome of the arbitration which highlights the Facility's commitment to supporting African countries to ensure fair negotiations and balanced contracts and riddance of corruption in the management and exploitation of natural resources in Africa.