‘We want to develop our mine’ — Stans Energy’s Chairman on Int’l Arbitration & Stans’ REE Project

  • Investor Intel

Tracy Weslosky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of InvestorIntel interviews Rodney Irwin, Chairman and interim President and CEO of Stans Energy Corp. (TSXV: HRE | OTCQX: HREEF) to discuss Stans Energy’s most-recent announcement that the company has commenced international arbitration against the Government of Kyrgyzstan to reclaim its mining license to the past-producing Kutessay II Rare Earth Project that it acquired in 2009 from the Kyrgyz Republic. In May 2011, Stans completed the purchase of the Kashka Rare Earth Processing Plant, the same plant that previously refined rare earths from Kutessay II ores. Kashka was the only hard-rock plant that produced all rare earth elements outside of China. On September 16th, Stans Energy announced that a Kyrgyz court ruled against Kutessay II’s previous license holder, citing that the Chinese company that claimed ownership of the mine had no legal claims to the license.

Tracy starts, “We have a huge audience of Stans Energy shareholders on InvestorIntel and everyone wants to know: what’s happening with arbitration? You won your case, but what’s happening today?”

“We still feel that we need a more cooperative Kyrgyz government on side,” explains Ambassador Irwin. “So we’ve decided to go to international arbitration. First, if necessary, to get our money back. But really our intention is to have a ‘stick’ to encourage cooperation from the government because we still want to develop our mine.”

Tracy asks, “I’ve read your background and you’ve been an ambassador to a number of Eastern European countries. If anyone could lead arbitration, you certainly could. Can you tell me why you selected Moscow?”
“We think Moscow is a good selection for two reasons,” Ambassador Irwin explains. “The first is, it’s cheaper and will cost us less money; the second, the process will proceed quickly, much more quickly that it might in other arbitration courts.”

Tracy discusses former Stans Energy Corp. President and CEO, Robert Mackay (who had to resign in September due to health problems), and his vision to turn Kutessay II into a producing rare earth mine; and asks Ambassador Irwin how Stans Energy intends on fulfilling the former President and CEO’s dreams. “Well, one of the key pieces of that, in addition to getting the mine back into operation, is the processing plant that goes with it,” says Ambassador Irwin. “The processing plant is a separate project and is not caught up in our mining license issues with the Kyrgyz government. So Stans Energy is continuing with prep work to get that processing plant back into operation because it is extremely valuable to the company. That might leads us, at some point, to the possibilities of processing rare earths for other people.”

Regarding the timeline for arbitration, Ambassador Irwin comments: “We think that the timeline will be short, meaning a matter of months, not a matter of years. And we think that is very important because we want to get on with it. Our real intention is to get the Kyrgyz government to realize that this is a good project; it’s very good for the Kyrgyz economy, for employment. We have the support of local villagers, who see that there are jobs here. We think that we will start to get good political support — and that’s really what we’re working on. We are talking to as many people as we can locally. One very encouraging sign has been that there is a new governor for the region where our mine is, who has taken an interest in us. In fact, he has toured the mine site. I’m going back to Moscow and Bishkek this week to meet with the governor; to tell him what it is we want to do and to get him onside. That, we think, will be very momentous in terms of convincing the central government that we have good political support — and that’s important.”

Disclaimer: Stans Energy Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.