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In Westwater v. Republic of Türkiye, ICSID accepts Bates White market analysis, denies claimant's application for rectification

October 2023

Bates White was retained on behalf of the government of Türkiye, the respondent in Westwater v. Republic of Türkiye, in an international arbitration matter under ICSID rules. The claimant, a US-based mining company, alleges that, in rescinding seven uranium exploration and operating licenses for the Temrezli and Sefaatli uranium mining projects, the government of Türkiye created a state monopoly over uranium mining activities in the country and caused financial damages for the American owner of those mining projects pursuant to the Türkiye-US Bilateral Investment Treaty of 1985.

Partners Glenn R. George and Anna Meyendorff submitted expert reports and delivered oral testimony. They examined the global market for uranium ore, including supply (from mines through the complex value chain for uranium processing) and demand (primarily from nuclear power plants), together with the facts and circumstances surrounding the specific mining projects in question. Their analyses showed that the properties had no economic value, given market conditions at the time of the rescission, and found that no damages were owed.

The ICSID tribunal ruled that the government of Türkiye defeated the bulk of the claim over the revocation of the mining project licenses, finding that Westwater would not have been able to obtain the required financing, given the low uranium prices at the time, and thus the tribunal could not establish causation for loss of profits by the company. The tribunal cited Drs. George and Meyendorff’s testimony multiple times, rejecting Westwater’s damage claim based on lost profits, accepting as correct the damages framework of Drs. George and Meyendorff. It found that Westwater was entitled to compensation only for “investment costs,” which Türkiye acknowledged must be paid by virtue of the license rescissions irrespective of Westwater’s prospects of bringing the uranium project to a successful conclusion.

Under Article 49(2) of the ICSID Convention and Article 49(1) of the ICSID Rules, Westwater applied for rectification of the tribunal’s initial award. The tribunal denied the application, with the overall result that the Republic of Türkiye defeated a $267 million damages claim.

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