The Company, through its Zambian subsidiaries, is party to Development Agreements with GRZ for its existing operations which provide an express right to full and fair compensation for any loss, damages or costs (including interest) incurred by the Company by reason of the government's failure to comply with the tax stability guarantees set out in the Development Agreements, and rights of international arbitration in the event of any dispute. Following consultation with external legal counsel, the Company assessed there to be a high probability of recovery from the GRZ of payments made in respect of these taxes.
In the consolidated financial statements, the Company has recognized a tax expense in accordance with applicable laws from time to time notwithstanding the Development Agreements. In addition and reflecting the enforceability of the Development Agreements, the Company has recognized a receivable from the GRZ for an amount in respect of the expected ultimate repayment of taxes in excess of the taxes permitted under the Development Agreements. This receivable has been classified as "loans and receivables" and initially recorded at fair value based on management's best estimate of the timing of receipt and amounts due. As required, the receivable is assessed for impairment at each reporting period based on changes in facts and circumstances; any impairment amounts required may be material. As at September 30, 2010, this receivable amounts to $221.4 million.
Currently, the Company is involved in discussions with the GRZ to find an alternative solution to arbitration or litigation to fully resolve all outstanding matters in relation to the tax changes introduced in conflict with the Development Agreements. While the timing and outcome of these discussions remains uncertain, the Company recognizes that resolving this dispute through arbitration may not be in the best interest of either the Company or the GRZ. Accordingly, while no terms have been agreed to, the Company is seeking to achieve a compromise resolution which respects the key terms of the Development Agreements.
Excerpt from First Quantum Minerals Ltd press release announcing the report of its results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2010. The complete financial statements and management discussion and analysis are available for review at their website. First Quantum appear quite confident that they will have "their money" back! Interestingly that confidence is not placed in the courts since they conclude "the Company recognizes that resolving this dispute through arbitration may not be in the best interest of either the Company or the GRZ". Rather it is in their negotiating team and a weak GRZ at the other end of the table.