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EMED Mining says court resolution of third party disputes eases the way for Rio Tinto copper mine restart

EMED Mining (AIM: EMED) said today that disputes with previous stakeholders in its Proyecto Rio Tinto (NYSE:PRT) have been resolved by court rulings, easing the way for the company to restart its Rio Tinto mine in Spain.

The company said that the disputes were initiated by third parties and neither EMED nor any of its subsidiaries were a party to any of the proceedings.

The rulings included the dismissal of the challenge by a landholder, which owns land underlying part of a PRT tailings dam, of legal arrangements entered into by EMED Mining stakeholder MRI Group with EMED Mining, as well as the dismissal of the legal appeals by the former controllers of Mantesur Andevalo, the vendor of PRT, against MRI Group's dealings with those parties.

The third ruling a set of positive court judgements against previous controllers of PRT who unsuccessfully challenged the permitting processes imposed by the regulatory authorities, confirming the process already being adhered to by EMED and its subsidiaries.

EMED said that although these rulings were not directly a part of the formal approval process for the ongoing restart of the Rio Tinto mine, which it said was “relatively straightforward,” the removal of the legacy issues removed some of the potential complications and delays to the process.

“We merely start-up a long-standing facility and update its control systems to meet industry improvements that have been developed over the past 20 years. However, progress in gaining approval from the relevant Spanish authorities for the restart has to date been hampered by disputes between various previous stakeholders. It is pleasing that these various court rulings help in clearing the decks for the restart,” said Managing Director of EMED Mining Harry Anagnostaras-Adams.

EMED aims to commission Rio Tinto to start by the end of 2010 and for production to settle down in 2011.

Since becoming a publicly listed company in 2005, EMED has achieved 100 percent ownership of two major projects, Rio Tinto and the Detva gold project in Slovakia. EMED also has earlier-stage activities in Cyprus and, via an equity stake in KEFI Minerals (AIM: KEFI), in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Shares in the company rose nearly 8% on the news.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company