(As reported by Global Arbitration Review, available for the subscribers on this link.)

An ICC sole arbitrator  has agreed to hear a claim by Chinese-state owned mining company Sino Steel against an Indian iron ore group, while declining to hear a counterclaim on limitation grounds.

The news came to light through a LinkedIn post published on 26 October by Singhania & Partners in New Delhi – the firm acting for Sino Steel in the case.

It read: “Our client Sino Steel won the award relating to [a] limitation issue in ICC arbitration against MSPL Ltd at Singapore. Sino Steel’s claims were held within limitation whereas respondent’s counterclaim [for] liquidated damages was held to be barred by limitation.”

Beijing-headquartered Sino Steel, which is China’s second largest importer of iron ore, will now proceed with its case against MSPL, the flagship company of the Baldota group, which was represented by Crest Law Partners.

Hearings are taking place in Singapore with Cameron Hassall – a partner at Clifford Chance in Hong Kong – as the sole arbitrator.

The dispute arose after Sino Steel assisted MSPL in the setting up of a steel plant in the Indian province of Karnataka. According to Sino Steel’s website, the companies signed a contract in 2008 to work on a 1.2-million-ton pelletising project – involving the compression or moulding of iron ore into the shape of a pellet in the initial stages of steel production.

Production started at the plant in March 2011.

Sino Steel alleges that MSPL has since failed to pay a performance guarantee provided for in the contract. The Chinese company insists it is entitled to the money as it completed its obligations and the period for guarantee has elapsed.

The company also wants payment for additional technical services that it had carried out on the plant.

MSPL’s counterclaims are understood to have been for liquidated damages and production losses.

The region of Karnataka in southwestern India has seven iron ore mines in total, two of which are operated by MSPL.

Sino Steel v MSPL Ltd 

Sole arbitrator

  • Cameron Hassell

Counsel to Sino Steel

  • Singhania & Partners

Partners Ravi Singhania and Shambhu Sharan; senior associate Gunjan Chhabra; and associate Shashaank Bhansali

Counsel to MSPL Ltd

Crest Law Partners