EMERITA PROVIDES UPDATE ON APPEAL OF THE AZNALCOLLAR PUBLIC TENDER
JUDGE HAS CHARGED SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT PANEL RESPONSIBLE FOR AWARDING THE AZNALCOLLAR PUBLIC TENDER.
TORONTO, August 10th, 2015 – Emerita Resources Corp. (TSX-V: EMO) (the “Company” or “Emerita”) announces that criminal charges have been laid against members of the government panel responsible for reviewing the tenders and awarding the Aznalcollar Project to the winning bidder (refer to the news release of the Company dated March 11, 2015 announcing the appeal). Those being charged include the Director of Mines, as the person signing the granting resolution, the lawyer of the Junta, who was a member of the panel, and the representative of the Andalusian Ministry of Economy on the panel. The other four people accused are government officials directly involved in the valuation of the bids and the scoring differences between the two competing project proposals. The initial charges relate to the crime of Prevarication, (a form of corruption where an official rends a resolution knowing that is contrary to the law. It is a crime that can only be committed by government officials).
Mr. Joaquin Merino, Emerita’s President and CEO stated, “The laying of charges in this case confirms the Company’s view that the legal public tender process was circumvented by certain individuals responsible for the process. The Aznalcollar tender requirements laid out by the “Consejeria de Economia, Innovacion, Ciencia y Empleo” of the Junta of Andalusia government were very detailed and required a comprehensive technical proposal. Emerita invested more than USD$1 million in good faith to complete the required technical studies to meet the requirements of the tender process. It is very encouraging that the police and the courts have proceeded with the investigations and are pushing toward resolution of this issue in a timely and efficient manner.”
According to David Gower, Chairman of Emerita, “The technical studies that Emerita commissioned during preparation of its tender documents were done to the highest industry standards. This included detailed plans for environmental management, a water management plan that was endorsed by the Spanish Water Authority and detailed plans for exploration, ore body models, mine development and metallurgy. Emerita has already invested time, money and a great depth of technical knowledge in the development plan and it is our view that Emerita is best positioned to move this project forward quickly and efficiently as a result. We believe we will be able to return Azancollar to a profitable and sustainable operation that will make a major contribution to the local economy and employment.”
The next steps in the process would be for the resolution that awarded the tender for the project to Minorbis-Grupo Mexico (“Minorbis”) to be revoked. In the meantime, the Company has requested the temporary suspension of the resolution as a precautionary measure. Under Spanish mining law, the tender would normally be awarded to the next qualified bidder in the tender process which in this case would be Emerita.
In the judge’s decision in the criminal investigation there were noted numerous irregularities and deficiencies in the administrative documentation provided by Minorbis, the competitor bidder, with respect to Phase 1 of the Aznalcollar public tender process which, in the opinion of the court, should have resulted in disqualification of the Minorbis bid from the process during Phase 1, of the multi-phase bidding process.
The judge also identified irregularities in the evaluation of the technical proposals during phase 2 of the tender process. The judge noted the documentation required to demonstrate financial solvency was not in compliance with the tender requirements. The judge requested an explanation from the panel on how it had assigned points to the bidders on the proposed amount of the investment to be made since Emerita proposed a higher overall investment amount yet was rewarded fewer points than Minorbis for this section of the tender. The panel explained that Minorbis proposed a higher investment per mining claim, but the judge found the explanation unsatisfactory since there was no explanation as to why the panel divided the investment by 73 mining claims in the case of Emerita, and by 53 the case of in Minorbis. Thus, the result per claim calculated for Minorbis was deemed higher although the overall proposed investment was actually lower.
With respect to the mining proposal, the panel favored the Minorbis proposal which included establishing underground access through the Southern Wall of the existing pit. Numerous technical reports included in the due diligence data room available to prospective bidders and to the panel identified problems with the Southern Wall which is highly unstable and requires a specific and alternative solution such as was proposed in the Emerita submission.
The Minorbis project proposal did not contemplate building a new water treatment plant, instead intending to rehabilitate the existing one. A report by the Andalusian Water Agency recommends establishing a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, which is what Emerita proposed in its bid.
The Director of Mines has been removed from her position as a result of the charges laid in this case.
Emerita continues to cooperate with the appeal process and looks forward to a fair and timely resolution.
The scientific and technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Joaquin Merino, P.Geo, President and CEO of the Company and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators.
About Emerita Resources Corp.
Emerita is a natural resource company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in Europe, with a primary focus on exploring the Las Morras and Sierra Alta properties in Spain. The Company’s corporate office and technical team are based in Sevilla, Spain with an administrative office in Toronto, Canada.
For further information, contact:
+34 (628) 1754 66 (Spain)
+1 416 309 4293 (Toronto)
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Information
This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding further developments or results of any recourse initiated by the Company with respect to the tender process, and the Company’s future plans. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward- looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Emerita, as the case may be, to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, geopolitical and social uncertainties; the actual results of current exploration activities; risks associated with operation in foreign jurisdictions; ability to successfully integrate the purchased properties; foreign operations risks; and other risks inherent in the mining industry. Although Emerita has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Emerita does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
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