Mining Arbitration in the Asia-Pacific

This is an Insight article, written by a selected partner as part of GAR's co-published content. Read more on Insight


The Asia-Pacific region integrates the mining industry within the life cycle of the global economy more fluidly than perhaps anywhere else in the world. Metals and minerals extracted from the region are transported to the manufacturing hubs and population centres of South and East Asia, creating much of the world’s technologically sophisticated manufacturing as well as supporting much of the world’s construction. The mining industry in the Asia-Pacific region is driven by insatiable global demand for technological goods, coupled with the pressing infrastructure needs of a rapidly urbanising region with over half the world’s population. In 2020, despite the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Asia-Pacific was still the largest region in the global mining market.

The economic dynamism of the region sometimes masks the fact that many mineral-rich countries in the Asia-Pacific have diverse and often challenging systems of governance. Policies relating to natural resource extraction can shift, sometimes dramatically, as governments change or as environmental and indigenous peoples’ concerns come to the fore. These factors help make the Asia-Pacific region ripe for mining disputes.

This chapter looks backward and forward, providing a brief introduction to the types of mining disputes that have arisen and may yet arise in the Asia-Pacific region, given the numerous non-state stakeholders attending many mining projects as well as the state-created political risks mining companies in the region face, including from governmental policies animated by resurgent resource nationalism.

The region’s centrality to the global mining industry

The Asia-Pacific region is home to some of the most mineral resource-rich countries in the world, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.[2] In addition, many of the largest mining companies in the world reside in the region – of the top 40 mining companies by market capitalisation globally, close to half are in or closely tied to the region.[3] Perhaps reflecting the Asia-Pacific region’s clout as both producer and consumer of mining products, some of the largest recent mining deals involve the region.4 With the increasing prominence of the mining industry, international legal disputes have proliferated. The mining industry has not been insulated from the changing regulatory frameworks in many countries in the region, which has made more sophisticated strategies for risk mitigation and dispute resolution necessary.

Ripe ground for mining disputes

Political risk in the Asia-Pacific

Similar to energy and infrastructure projects, mining projects are particularly vulnerable to political risk.[5] That risk is heightened in the Asia-Pacific with countries like China and the Philippines, which belong to the 10 least attractive jurisdictions based on the Policy Perception Index, a composite index that measures overall mining policy attractiveness.[6]

Broadly defined, political risk means the probability that political forces or events, whether occurring in a host country or resulting from changes in the international environment, will disrupt an entity’s operations.[7] Political risk has numerous manifestations. For instance, mining companies in the region have had to contend with a wave of changes in environmental regulations that impact mining operations. In 2017, the Philippine Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources ordered the suspension or closure of at least 23 mining companies because of alleged environmental violations[8] and banned open pit mining.[9] The outright banning of open-pit mining in the Philippines exemplified a broader awareness of the need to consider the environment when undertaking mining operations at all levels.

While recent governmental actions in the Philippines have not thus far led to international arbitration, measures taken by other states in the region have. In Thailand, the government suspended gold-mining operations in 2017 because of concerns over environmental pollution, giving rise to an investment treaty arbitration under the Australia–Thailand Free Trade Agreement.[10] Similarly, when Mongolia enacted a new Nuclear Energy Law in 2009 because of environmental concerns, Canadian mining company Khan Resources commenced arbitration against Mongolia under the Energy Charter Treaty after the government cancelled its uranium licences.[11] Khan Resources prevailed in that arbitration.[12]

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic introduced a new type of political risk as it impelled governments in the region to adopt various measures that have impacted or slowed down mining operations, disrupted supply chains and dampened demand for commodities.[13] Indeed, an August 2020 McKinsey survey of mining executives indicates that covid-19 has had a substantial impact on mining operations.[14]

While political risks take many forms, but they are particularly acute when governments enact policies animated by resource nationalism.

The rise of resource nationalism

In almost all states in the Asia-Pacific, minerals are considered the property of the sovereign.[15] States have always exercised ownership over their mineral resources through their regulatory powers, which swing – like a pendulum – between climates in favour of investors on some occasions, and the opposite, whenever governments decide to exert greater control over mineral resources (i.e., resource nationalism).[16] Resource nationalism often manifests itself through regulatory uncertainty and abrupt policy changes, and therefore may pose one of the biggest risks mining companies face in their operations.

Resource nationalism is on the rise in the Asia-Pacific and across the globe generally,[17] driven in large part by the uptick in commodity prices and a wave of populist governments ascending into power.[18] That upward movement in prices has incentivised governments to extract a larger share of or exert greater control over mineral resources.[19]

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte proposed the imposition of a royalty tax equivalent to 5 per cent of the market value of mineral products,[20] which was compounded by a nine-year-old moratorium on new mining projects that the Philippine government only lifted in April 2021 in a bid to generate more revenue for the pandemic-battered economy.[21] Exercise of greater control and extraction of more benefit from mineral resources go beyond taxation, however.[22] In 2014, Indonesia imposed a ban on unprocessed ore exports to promote higher-value smelting domestically. That ban backfired when in 2017, the government eased the ban under certain conditions to help address a budget deficit.[23] In the same year, however, Indonesia enacted new regulations requiring foreign mining companies to divest 51 per cent of their stake in mining projects to the local government or local companies.[24]

Because the pendulum can swing in both directions, governments must find the proper balance between principles of state ownership and protection of investors’ rights. When that pendulum disrupts that balance or investors perceive that the balance has tipped against their favour, then disputes can arise.

For example, Indonesia has faced arbitrations as a result of government measures that have been alleged to be steeped in resource nationalism.[25] As a result of the Indonesian ban on unprocessed ore exports, in June 2014, the Indonesian subsidiaries of the US company Newmont Mining and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation commenced an investment treaty arbitration against Indonesia pursuant to the Indonesia–Netherlands bilateral investment treaty (BIT).[26] Although Indonesia terminated that treaty in the same year with effect from 1 July 2015, a sunset clause in the agreement provided that its provisions would continue to remain in force until 2030.[27]

In a filing with the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the subsidiaries alleged that the Indonesian government’s imposition of the export conditions, a new export duty, and a ban on the export of copper concentrate violated the treaty and certain contractual provisions that: (1) established all the taxes and duties required to be paid; (2) included the obligation to produce and the right to export copper concentrate; and (3) specified rights and obligations that continued to govern their operation of the copper and gold mine, notwithstanding numerous changes in Indonesian law and regulations.[28] The claimants withdrew their ICSID claims in August 2014 after receiving commitments from the Indonesian government to negotiate a memorandum of understanding.[29]

Similarly, in 2017, US mining company Freeport-McMoRan triggered a 120-day pre-arbitration requirement to resolve a dispute with Indonesia arising from new export regulations requiring Freeport to acquire a new licence that subjected it to additional export duties and the requirement to reduce foreign ownership to no more than 49 per cent within 10 years.[30] Freeport alleged that the regulations breached a 30-year ‘contract of work’ pertaining to the Grasberg mine, one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines.[31] Freeport eventually reached a deal with the Indonesian government in 2018 allowing for the issuance of a special mining permit to Freeport Indonesia until 2031, and for the government to take majority control over the Grasberg mine through state mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium.[32]

Resource nationalism, and the expropriatory measures that often manifest it, can also take more overt forms. In 2013, Papua New Guinea enacted a law that purported to cancel the shares held by PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd in Ok Tedi Mining Limited, which had a Special Mining Lease over the Ok Tedi mine, an open pit copper and gold mine in the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea.[33] The company commenced arbitration, where the tribunal held that it did not have jurisdiction because there was no ‘consent in writing’ to arbitration from Papua New Guinea.[34]

Multiple stakeholders, multiple potential disputes

Despite the significant developmental impact mining plays, particularly in (but not limited to) the states of the Asia-Pacific region that are least developed,[35] disputes have arisen on numerous occasions, often prompted by forces operating outside governmental auspices. It is thus difficult to predict how and when issues arise – and disputes have indeed occurred at every stage of a mining project, from the exploration phase, to commercial operations, to winding-down, to remediation.[36]

Mining companies must be prepared to balance what can often be conflicting interests from a multitude of stakeholders, each of which can be governed by different laws, regulations and contracts, as well as international law. Outlined below are typical disputes that mining companies have faced in the Asia-Pacific region based on the stakeholders involved.

States and state entities

First consideration must, of course, be given to states and state entities themselves. Coincident with the principle of ‘permanent sovereignty’ over natural resources in international law, many states will have some version of the ‘Regalian Doctrine’, wherein states retain ownership over mineral resources. The Asia-Pacific region is no different, and mining companies operating there will need to deal with numerous incarnations of the state, which can include national and local governments, as well as Byzantine networks of ministries, and state-owned or affiliated entities.[37]

In 2017, for example, the Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority, an investment authority from the United Arab Emirates, commenced a nearly US$50 million investment treaty arbitration against India. The dispute pertained to a contract for the construction and operation of an alumina and aluminium refining plant, which was signed not with the Indian government, but with a company controlled by the provincial government of Andhra Pradesh.[38] The provincial government had ordered the cancellation of the contract because of purported ‘public agitation’ over bauxite mining. The potentially overlapping jurisdictions of the national government, the provincial government, and the state-owned company, together with the non-governmental ‘agitation’, all contributed to the complexity of interests involved in that dispute.

In addition to contract cancellations, mining companies are also exposed to the risk that states or state entities will either refuse outright to extend their mining licences or concessions, or simply allow them to lapse. This is at the heart of an ICSID claim commenced by Barrick Gold’s Australian subsidiary against Papua New Guinea: Barrick alleges that the state did not extend the Special Mining Lease for the Porgera gold mine in violation of the Australia–Papua New Guinea BIT.[39] The case is also a rare instance where ICSID conciliation was successfully employed to apparently resolve the dispute without need to complete the arbitration: it seems that Barrick Gold reached an agreement with Papua New Guinea in April 2021 to reopen the gold mine.[40]

By contrast, in an ICSID case commenced in 2020 by the Perth-based miner Indiana Resources, the government conduct that formed the basis of the complaint was not the failure to extend licences, but the outright abolition of the ‘retention licences’ for the Ntaka Hill Nickel Project through Tanzania’s adoption of its Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations, which purported to transfer the rights under those licences to the government.[41]

But issues can arise as early as the permitting stage. This was the case when the Indian metal producer Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd confronted a mix of Indonesian governmental instrumentalities, all of which were involved in the issuance of mining maps and mining concessions. Indian Metals filed a treaty claim against Indonesia in 2016 under the India–Indonesia BIT,[42] alleging that its subsidiary was unable to extract coal because its concession area overlapped with mining concessions granted to third parties, and the area fell within boundaries disputed by other Indonesian provinces.[43]

Joint venture partners

Foreign ownership limitations often necessitate the formation of joint ventures between international mining companies and prominent local companies or businesspersons who may or may not possess a background in the mining industry.[44]

As much as disputes can arise at any point in a mining project, joint venture disputes can also occur at any stage of the parties’ partnership. In a recent case involving the proposed combination of two gold mining projects on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, the dispute arose before any partnership was formed – indeed, the failed attempt at formation was itself the basis for the dispute. In that case, two Indonesian subsidiaries signed an agreement to combine two mining tenements under one ownership group, but the deal had yet to receive approval from regulators and secured lenders. One of the parties therefore claimed in the arbitration that the other party had failed to comply with its obligations to fulfil the conditions precedent for the deal.[45]

Joint venture disputes can also be triggered by a project’s commercial failure or success, or even just concerns about the viability of a mine.[46] Similar concerns, for example, animated an arbitration by a subsidiary of Australian miner Berkeley Resources against Enusa Industria Avanzadas SA, a Spanish state-owned uranium producer.[47] Berkeley alleged that Enusa did not honour its obligation to form a joint venture for uranium mining because of its doubts over a feasibility study completed for the mining project.[48] The parties settled the dispute, however.

An important but often underestimated risk in joint venture partnerships is the mutual responsibility each partner has for the acts of the other, including acts that they did not know but could have known, had they conducted due diligence. In Churchill Mining and Planet Mining v. Indonesia,[49] UK and Australian mining companies partnered with a group of seven Indonesian companies over the East Kutai coal project in Indonesia. After the foreign companies made their investment, the local partner obtained mining licences, part of which was later shown to overlap with other mining concessions issued. The local government revoked all the licences granted to the local partner, which prompted an investment treaty arbitration claiming expropriation. Indonesia defended itself by showing that the licences were forgeries and won, with the tribunal holding the foreign investors accountable for having failed to exercise due diligence in discovering the forgery, even if the investors had not participated in nor had knowledge of their local partner’s illegality.[50]

Local and indigenous communities

While mining projects can make significant contributions to local communities, those relationships can also turn sour and undermine the viability of a mine. A prominent example is the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous island of Bougainville, where violent protests from local communities precipitated the shutdown of the mine in 1989. A peace agreement reached in 2001 established autonomy for Bougainville and provided for an independence vote.[51] More recently, in Thailand, concerns about suspected levels of manganese and arsenic in villagers living in the vicinity of the Chatree Gold Mine, as well as concerns regarding environmental pollution, were used as justification by the government to close the mine.[52] That dispute led Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd, Chatree’s Australian operator, to commence an investor–state arbitration against Thailand in 2017 in which Kingsgate claimed that the government had expropriated its investment and violated its right to fair and equitable treatment under the Australia–Thailand Free Trade Agreement.[53]

Contractors and subcontractors

Mining projects typically require mammoth infrastructure projects with not just one, but several contractors and subcontractors. Mining projects can therefore result in a web of EPC and other affiliated contracts, each of which could have different counterparties. Because of the interconnected nature of these construction agreements, a default in one can potentially trigger breaches in downstream or upstream agreements.


Since mineral resources are ultimately destined for offtakers, they too, are crucial stakeholders, and disputes with them can cripple a mining project. These supply disputes typically arise when price fluctuations in the commodities market occur.

When iron ore suddenly became cheaper in the spot market at the height of the financial crisis in the late 2000s, offtakers sought to default on year-long supply contracts.[54] The plummeting of iron ore prices resulted in disputes and subsequent legal proceedings, such as the arbitration between Australia’s Mount Gibson Iron Ltd and Rizhao Steel, a Chinese steel mill owner.[55] Both parties had signed a supply contract under which Rizhao agreed to purchase up to 1.5 million tons of iron ore annually. Mount Gibson settled that dispute, together with two similar disputes with other customers from Hong Kong and China.

Conversely, mining companies as suppliers can seek to take advantage of upward fluctuations in commodity prices. In March 2011, a sole arbitrator found in favour of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) against Vale Australia Pty Ltd and AMCI Pty Ltd, two Australian mining companies that entered into a long-term coal supply agreement with SAIL.[56] SAIL argued in the arbitration that Vale and AMCI had deliberately breached the supply agreement because of ‘a manifold rise in the price of coal’ in the late 2000s, which resulted in SAIL having to procure the shortfall from other sources at much higher prices.[57]


Although already a major producer, as well as the pre-eminent market for minerals, immense mining potential remains in the Asia-Pacific region. The mining industry has attracted billions of dollars in investment, and yet the region still possesses vast amounts of untapped mineral resources. Governments in the region play a crucial role in balancing policies to attract and protect mining company investments, with generally accepted principles of state sovereignty over mineral resources, as well as concerns over the damage that mining inflicts on the environment and to local and indigenous communities. Mining companies, for their part, must also balance commercial interests, the concerns of numerous local, national and international stakeholders, and political risk, which rising sentiments of resource nationalism can amplify. When governments and mining companies fail to find that balance, disputes arise. The region will likely continue to see an uptick in mining-related disputes handled in international forums, as established international conglomerates and junior miners alike step up to meet ever-increasing demand from an Asia-Pacific region that continues to pose political and environmental challenges.


1 Aloysius Llamzon is a partner and William B Panlilio is a senior associate at King & Spalding LLP.

2 ‘Asia-Pacific Mining Sector Study – A Final Report Prepared for ABAC: Executive Summary’, 2015/SOM3/MTF/WKSP/002, pp. vi–vii, 17, 25, 28, 36–37, 40. Australia is a global mining powerhouse, and, in fact, is almost self-sufficient in mineral commodities. China is a leading mineral-producing and consuming economy, and is the world’s leading producer of rare earth minerals. Indonesia is a top producer for copper, gold, bauxite, coal, tin and nickel. Papua New Guinea, while one of the smaller economies in the Asia-Pacific, depends heavily on the mining sector and has historically attracted substantial mining investments (in addition to Indonesia and the Philippines). The Philippines is the world’s number two nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, and continues to attract attention, notwithstanding recent curbs on the mining industry by the Philippine government.

3 PricewaterhouseCoopers, ‘Mine 2018, Tempting Mines’, 2018, p. 6. That list includes companies such as BHP Billiton Limited (Australia/UK), Rio Tinto Limited (Australia/UK), Coal India Limited (India), Sumitomo Metal Mining Company (Japan), China Shenhua Energy Company Limited (China/Hong Kong), and China Northern Rare Earth (Group) High-Tech Co. Limited (China).

4 In 2018, one of the largest completed deals in the mining sector was China’s Tianqi Lithium Corporation’s US$4.1 billion acquisition of 23.77 per cent of Chilean lithium miner Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) from Nutrien, a Canadian fertiliser company. Indonesian state-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium came on the heels of that acquisition, with its own bond offering that raised US$4 billion. China, Australia and Indonesia were some of the five largest countries globally in 2018 in terms of deal value. GlobalData Energy, ‘Mining industry outlook 2018: M&A and capital raising deal volumes fell’, 1 February 2019,, accessed 19 March 2019. Relatedly, in a study of global capital expenditure trends from 2018 to 2020, projects in the Asia-Pacific comprised the largest share of the total project capital expenditures globally. GlobalData Energy, ‘Asia Pacific tops global mining capex’, 7 August 2018,, accessed 19 March 2019.

5 Henry G Burnett and Louis-Alexis Brett, ‘Political Risk and Resource Nationalism’, Arbitration of International Mining Disputes, Law and Practice (Oxford University Press 2017), p. 30.

6 Ashley Stedman and Kenneth P. Green, Fraser Institute, ‘Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2018’,, accessed 20 March 2019, pp. 1–2. The Policy Perception Index is a ‘composite index that measures the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment’. It is a ‘“report card” to governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies’.

7 See Henry G Burnett and Louis-Alexis Brett, ‘Political Risk and Resource Nationalism’, Arbitration of International Mining Disputes, Law and Practice (Oxford University Press 2017), pp. 29–30. Political risk can also encompass: (1) non-economic risks; (2) unwanted government interference with business operations; (3) disruption by political forces or events of the operations of multinational companies; (4) political change that gives rise to discontinuities in the business environment; and (5) instability and radical change in a country’s political system. In the mining context, political risk can be understood as ‘associated with the effect that actions of agents pursuing political objectives may have on the value of the assets of agents pursuing economic objectives’.

8 Jee Y Geronimo, ‘DENR announces closure of 23 mining operations’, Rappler, 5 February 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019. In addition, the DENR also ordered the cancellation of 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (many of which were in the exploration stage), which according to the DENR were located in watersheds. The DENR issued show cause orders giving the affected mining companies seven days to respond. A number of major Philippine mining companies were again affected, including Kingking Mining Corporation, Philex Mining Corporation, and TVI Resources Development Phils. Inc. See Jee Y Geronimo, ‘DENR orders cancellation of 75 MPSAs in watersheds’, Rappler, 14 February 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019.

9 Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order No. 2017-10, ‘Banning the Open Pit Method of Mining for Copper, Gold, Silver and Complex Ores in the Country’ (DENR Order No. 2017-10), 27 April 2017.

10 Douglas Thomson, ‘Thailand faces treaty claim over mining ban’, Global Arbitration Review (GAR), 2 November 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019.

11 See Khan Resources Inc, Khan Resources BV, CAUC Holding Company Ltd v. The Government of Mongolia and MonAtom LLC, PCA Case No. 2011-09, Award on the Merits, 2 March 2015, paras. 71–73.

12 id.

13 Deloitte, ‘Understanding COVID-19’s impact on the mining & metals sector’, 1 April 2020.

14 Norton Rose Fulbright, ‘International arbitration report’, 15 November 2020, p 10.

15 CRU Consulting, Asia-Pacific mining sector study, A final report prepared for APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), September 2014, p. 120. Laws providing for state ownership of mineral resources can be found in Australia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand. See Australian Trade and Investment Commission, ‘Mining, minerals and petroleum rights’,, accessed 19 March 2019; Mineral Resources Law of the People’s Republic of China, 19 March 1986,, accessed 19 March 2019, Article 3; The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia of 1945, 18 August 1945,, accessed 19 March 2019, Article 33(3); Mining Act 1992 and Regulation of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea,, accessed 19 March 2019, Part II.5 (Minerals the Property of the State); The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 2 February 1987,, accessed 19 March 2019, Section 2; Philippine Republic Act No. 7942, ‘An Act Instituting a New System of Mineral Resources Exploration, Development, Utilization and Conservation’, 3 March 1995,, accessed 19 March 2019, Section 4 (Ownership of Mineral Resources); John C Wu, ‘The Mineral Industry of Thailand’, US Geological Survey, 2005,, accessed 19 March 2019.

16 Henry G Burnett and Louis-Alexis Brett, ‘Political Risk and Resource Nationalism’, Arbitration of International Mining Disputes, Law and Practice (Oxford University Press 2017), p. 35.

17 ‘Introduction’, Mining in the Asia-Pacific, Risks, Challenges and Opportunities (Terry O’Callaghan and Geordan Graetz, eds. Springer International Publishing AG, 2017), p. 21.

18 id.; Henry G Burnett, Caline Mouawad and Louis-Alexis Bret, ‘Resource Nationalism and Mining Reforms Could Mean More International Disputes’, The Northern Miner, 2 December 2013 3.

19 Henry G Burnett, Caline Mouawad and Louis-Alexis Bret, ‘Resource Nationalism and Mining Reforms Could Mean More International Disputes’, The Northern Miner, 2 December 2013 3; Cliff Venzon, ‘Flare-up of resource nationalism burns miners across Asia’, Nikkei Asian Review, 25 August 2018,, accessed 19 March 2019; Rhiannon Hoyle and Alexandra Wexler, ‘Countries Push to Extract More Cash from Big Mining Companies’, Wall Street Journal, 18 November 2018,, accessed 19 March 2019.

20 Cliff Venzon, ‘Flare-up of resource nationalism burns miners across Asia’, Nikkei Asian Review, 25 August 2018,, accessed 19 March 2019.

21 Philippine Executive Order No. 79, ‘Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector, Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and Responsible Mining in the Utilization of Mineral Resources’, 6 July 2012, Section 4 (Grant of Mineral Agreements Pending New Legislation) ); Leila B Salaverria, ‘100 new mining projects to raise P21 billion for gov’t’, 20 April 2021,, accessed 28 April 2021.

22 Henry G Burnett, Caline Mouawad and Louis-Alexis Bret, ‘Resource Nationalism and Mining Reforms Could Mean More International Disputes’, The Northern Miner, 2 December 2013 3.

23 Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina Munthe, ‘Indonesia eases export ban on nickel ore, bauxite’, Reuters, 12 January 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019.

24 Lacey Yong, ‘Indonesia threatened with copper mining claim’, GAR, 20 February 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019; see Reuters, ‘Six foreign-controlled miners to start divestments in “near future” – Indonesia’,, accessed 20 March 2019.

25 See Nyshka Chandran and Martin Soon, ‘Foreign miners in Indonesia must be beneficial to country, warns Finance Minister’, CNBC, 5 May 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019. In the article, Eve Warburton, a scholar at Australian National University, is quoted as saying: ‘The ideological foundations of resource nationalism have deep roots in Indonesia (and) the contemporary political milieu has given it more political utility and enduring appeal as politicians mobilize nationalist narratives to satisfy public demands.’

26 See Order of the Secretary-General Taking Note of the Discontinuance of the Proceeding, Nusa Tenggara Partnership BV and PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara v. Republic of Indonesia (ICSID Case No. Arb/14/15), 29 August 2014.

27 Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia on Promotion and Protection of Investment, 6 April 1994, Article 15(2) (‘In respect of investments made prior to the date of termination of the present Agreement, the foregoing Articles shall continue to be effective for a further period of fifteen years from the date of termination of the present Agreement’); see Douglas Thomson, ‘Indonesia cancels Dutch investment treaty’, GAR, 21 March 2014,, accessed 20 March 2019.

29 PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, Press Release, 26 August 2014,, accessed 20 March 2019; Douglas Thomson, ‘Miner withdraws Indonesia copper claim’, GAR, 26 August 2014,, accessed 20 March 2019.

30 Wataru Suzuki, ‘Freeport threatens legal action over Indonesia mine’, Nikkei Asian Review, 20 February 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019. The limitation on foreign ownership also formed one of the basis for the claims in Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Limited (India) v. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, PCA Case No. 2015-40. GAR, ‘Indian investor pursues treaty claim against Indonesia’, 28 November 2016,, accessed 20 March 2019.

31 Lacey Yong, ‘Indonesia threatened with copper mining claim’, GAR, 20 February 2017,, accessed 20 March 2019.

32 Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Wilda Asmarini, ‘Indonesia closes long-awaited $3.85 billion Freeport deal’.

33 PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd v. Independent State of Papua New Guinea, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/33, Award, 28 April 2015, paras. 30, 36.

34 PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd v. Independent State of Papua New Guinea, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/33, Award, 28 April 2015, paras. 286–93.

35 The industry has made significant contributions to countries in ways that go beyond quantitative indicators such as GDP or revenue generation. Mining typically occurs in far-flung areas, with minimal infrastructure, and often, far from the grasps of central government. Mining projects can make impactful contributions to the communities that host those projects, and can lead to employment of local labourers, purchase of and preference for materials from domestic markets, investment of capital in the project location, as well as construction of infrastructure such as roads, rail, ports and power generation facilities. ‘Asia-Pacific Mining Sector Study – A Final Report Prepared for ABAC: Executive Summary’, 2015/SOM3/MTF/WKSP/002, pp. ii, iv; ‘Introduction’, Mining in the Asia-Pacific, Risks, Challenges and Opportunities (Terry O’Callaghan and Geordan Graetz, eds. Springer International Publishing AG, 2017), p. 4.

36 ‘Introduction’, Mining in the Asia-Pacific, Risks, Challenges and Opportunities (Terry O’Callaghan and Geordan Graetz, eds. Springer International Publishing AG, 2017), p. 4.

37 There is a proliferation of state-owned or affiliated entities in the Asian mining sector. See, e.g., Erwida Maulia, ‘Indonesia begins consolidation of state-owned miners’, Nikkei Asian Review, 16 November 2017,, accessed 19 March 2019; see also ‘Introduction’, Mining in the Asia-Pacific, Risks, Challenges and Opportunities (Terry O’Callaghan and Geordan Graetz, eds. Springer International Publishing AG, 2017), p. 4.

38 Douglas Thomson, ‘UAE investment authority takes on India’, GAR, 13 January 2017,, accessed 19 March 2019.

39 ‘Barrick Serves Notice of Dispute Over Porgera’, 10 July 2020,, accessed on 28 April 2021.

40 Cosmo Sanderson, ‘Papua New Guinea mine to reopen after ICSID conciliation’, 14 April 2021,, accessed 28 April 2021.

41 ‘Australian miner launches claim against Tanzania’, 30 September 2020,, accessed 30 September 2020.

42 The case is Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Limited (India) v. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, PCA Case No. 2015-40.

43 GAR, ‘Indian investor pursues treaty claim against Indonesia’, 28 November 2016,, accessed 20 March 2019.

44 See Jonathan Lee, ‘Why should mining companies consider joint ventures?’, PricewaterhouseCoopers UK Blogs, 28 March 2014,, accessed 20 March 2019.

45 Sebastian Perry, ‘Indian and Indonesian projects spawn SIAC claims’, GAR, 25 February 2021,, accessed 28 April 2021.

46 Konstantin Christie and Daniel Greineder, ‘Joint Venture Disputes’, GAR, 17 March 2016,, accessed 19 March 2019.

47 Kyriaki Karadelis, ‘ICC Court to hear Australian-Spanish uranium dispute’, GAR, 10 April 2012,, accessed 19 March 2019.

49 Churchill Mining PLC and Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/14 and 12/40, Award, 6 December 2016.

50 Churchill v. Indonesia, Award, para. 504.

51 Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh, ‘The Remote Island Sitting on $58 Billion of Gold and Copper’, 11 February 2019,, accessed 19 March 2019.

52 Apornrath Phoonphongphiphat, ‘Thai junta’s battle with Australian miner puts law under spotlight’, Nikkei Asian Review, 7 June 2018,, accessed 19 March 2019.

53 Ross Smyth-Kirk, Executive Chairman of Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd, ‘Commencement of arbitration against Thailand’, 3 November 2017; Douglas Thomson, ‘Thailand faces treaty claim over mining ban’, GAR, 2 November 2017,, accessed 19 March 2019.

54 Neil Hume and Henry Sanderson, ‘How is iron ore priced?’, Financial Times, 9 March 2016,, accessed 19 March 2019.

55 ‘Chinese steel mill ordered to pay damages’, GAR, 20 August 2010,, accessed 19 March 2019.

56 GAR, ‘India’s top court upholds ICC award in coal dispute’, 6 August 2013,, accessed 19 March 2019.

57 See Vale Australia Pty Limited and AMCI Pty Ltd v. Steel Authority of India Limited, Judgment of the High Court of New Delhi, 30 March 2012,, accessed 19 March 2019. In like manner, a spike on coal prices caused a similar dispute between Coal & Oil Company LLC (C&O), a company in Dubai, and GHCL Limited (GHCL), an Indian company to which C&O contracted to supply coal. Because of dramatic increases in the price of coal between April 2007 and January 2008, GHCL demanded that C&O repay a sum paid (calculated using higher coal prices) because purportedly the parties’ agreement in respect of the higher sum was procured through coercion. The tribunal ruled in GHCL’s favour, holding that the parties’ agreement was executed under duress. Coal & Oil Co LLC v. GHCL Ltd, [2015] SGHC 65, Judgment of the High Court of Singapore, 12 March 2015,[2015]%20SGHC%2065.pdf, accessed 19 March 2019, paras. 6–12.

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