Odyssey Marine Exploration files first memorial in Mexico NAFTA case

GlobeNewswire | 16 September

Odyssey Marine Exploration files first memorial in Mexico NAFTA case

Source: Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX), a deep-ocean exploration pioneer engaged in the discovery, development and extraction of seabed minerals, is pleased to report that on Friday, September 4, 2020, Odyssey filed the First Memorial in the case brought against Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on its behalf and on behalf of subsidiary Exploraciones Oceánicas (ExO), alleging that Mexico wrongfully denied environmental approval of the ExO Phosphate project in breach of NAFTA.

The First Memorial presents Odyssey’s NAFTA claims that Mexico, among other things:

  • Violated the Minimum Standard of Treatment;
  • Indirectly expropriated the investment; and
  • Treated the investment less favorably than it treated domestic investors.

Odyssey seeks damages of more than $2.3 billion including interest from April 2016 to the date of the First Memorial’s submission.

The First Memorial is supported by documentary evidence, and 20 expert reports and witness statements. In summary, this evidence includes:

  • MERITS: Testimony from independent environmental experts and legal experts that the environmental impact of ExO’s phosphate project is minimal and readily mitigated by the mitigation measures proposed by ExO. Witnesses also testified that Mexico’s denial of environmental approval by the prior administration was politically motivated and not justified on environmental grounds, and that Mexico granted environmental permits to similar dredging projects in areas that are considered more environmentally sensitive than ExO’s project location.
  • RESOURCE: An independent marine geologist testified as to the size and character of the resource.
  • OPERATIONAL VIABILITY: Engineering experts testified that the project uses established dredging and processing technology, and the project’s anticipated CAPEX and OPEX was reasonable.
  • VALUE: A Phosphate market analyst testified that the project’s projected CAPEX and OPEX would make the project one of the lowest cost phosphate rock resources in the world, and damages experts testified the project would be commercially viable and profitable.

This NAFTA arbitration is being administered by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and it is expected that a redacted version of the First Memorial will be available to the public within approximately 60 days. Once the Memorial is made available by ICSID, Odyssey will provide a link to the filing on its website, www.odysseymarine.com.

The NAFTA hearing is scheduled to take place in January 2022 unless settled earlier by the parties.

source: GlobeNewswire