Tujuh Bukit deal-maker claims Intrepid broke agreement in 2008 and then pressured his exit

Further disclosures about dual Australian/Canadian-listed (TSX:IAU)(ASX:IAU) Intrepid Mines Ltd’s entry into the Tujuh Bukit project in East Java, Indonesia, just keep rolling out through the media.

In the latest report, published by Indonesia’s official news agency Antara, it is claimed that “on March 31, 2008, Intrepid failed to meet the [Alliance Agreement with its partners IndoAust and PT Indo Multi Niaga] which resulted in the termination of the cooperation” - a noteworthy allegation as Intrepid has never reported the incident to the Australian or Toronto stock exchanges.

Former Tujuh Bukit deal-maker, Paul Willis, provided Antara with further details of his claim that his company was unfairly dumped by Intrepid from a project that, he acknowledges, both Australian companies were “not allowed to have a business interest in.”

The director general of mineral and coal at the energy and mineral resources ministry, Thamrin Sihite, apparently concurs"Intrepid should comply with regulation No 24 /2012," he said.

Was Sihite aware that Intrepid only opened an official Representative Office in Indonesia in recent months or merely observing that Intrepid’s ‘partner’, PT Indo Multi Niaga, had never converted to a PMA, after the 2009 mining law permitted foreign direct investment in mining activities, to allow Intrepid access to a majority equity stake?

In the Antara report, Paul Willis is reported to have said that his Australian company, IndoAust Mining “will file a legal suit either in Indonesia or Australia” against Intrepid for "forcefully taking over" IndoAust’s business interest in the Tujuh Bukit project.

According to Willis,  PT IMN applied for a mining permit for Tujuh Bukit in early 2006 - on IndoAust’s direction - because a foreign firm was not allowed to have a mining permit.

On 21 August 2006, IndoAust and PT IMN signed a mining development agreement with an ownership composition of 70% and 30% with IndoAust authorised to control and finance all IMN’s activities.

On 7 August 2007, based on a report by independent Australian consultant, Hellman & Schofield Pty Ltd, that the Tujuh Bukit project had gold reserves of 3.1 Moz worth US$30 million, IndoAust and IMN signed an "Alliance Agreement" with Emperor Mines (now Intrepid) to boost exploration.

Then, on 31 March 2008, Intrepid allegedly failed to meet the terms of the Alliance Agreement, “which resulted in the termination of the cooperation.”

However, on 21 April 2008, Willis claimed, “Intrepid forced [him] to sign a document which would effectively release the interest of IndoAust” in the project: "I only received compensation of A$2 million, while I had spent about $4.5 million. It was not fair.” Willis added that Intrepid then signed an agreement with PT IMN which gave an improved production split of 80-20%.

Willis is now CEO of Sihayo Gold Limited which has the majority interest in the Sorikmas COW in North Sumatra. He holds about 8.8% of Sihayo Gold whose biggest shareholder (17%) is the Saratoga Capital-linked Summit Investments (Singapore). Summit is represented on Sihayo’s board by Gavin Caudle, a director of Saratoga Capital. Danny Nolan, Sihayo’s Chief Financial Officer “held a number of senior finance roles with the Saratoga Capital Group.”

AJM has previously identified one of the new controlling shareholders in PT IMN as a close associate of Saratoga Capital and its principal founder, Edwin Soeryadjaya. The Australian newspaper had also posed a number of questions to Soeryadjaya’s office about his association with the IMN takeover.

For his part, Willis told AJM that while Soeryadjaya was made aware of his issues with Intrepid and the Tujuh Bukit project prior to Saratoga/Summit’s investment in Sihayo Gold, and Soeryadjaya had subsequently asked for updates, he could not confirm that Soeryadjaya was directly or indirectly involved in the move on PT IMN.