TAMPA, Fla., April 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX), a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean exploration, today provided an update on subsidiary Exploraciones Oceanicas’s (ExO) phosphate project in Mexico and the steps being taken to defend shareholder interests in the development of the project.
Further to its filing on January 4, 2019 of a Notice of Intent (NOI) under Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in early April 2019 Odyssey management and representatives of the ExO project participated in face to face consultations in Mexico City with representatives of the Mexican Secretaria de Economia (Ministry of the Economy) and SEMARNAT (Environmental Ministry). Consultations are mandated under NAFTA to promote amicable resolution of notified claims. The meeting provided Odyssey an opportunity to review its careful environmental due diligence, the benefits of the phosphate project for Mexico and its concerns about governmental decision-making relating to the project to date. The NAFTA process permits continued dialogue notwithstanding full engagement in the dispute resolution process. Odyssey will take advantage of this opportunity to continue to press its case, confident that pursuit of the project is fully aligned with key Mexican Government policy objectives.
Although Odyssey was pleased with the tenor and direction of these initial consultations, consistent with its efforts to secure the success of the project through appropriate legal action, Odyssey on April 5, 2019 filed its Notice of Arbitration (NOA) under Chapter Eleven of NAFTA. NAFTA mandates that a NOA may be filed 90 days after the filing of a NOI, and following the conduct of consultations. Through this most recent filing, Odyssey formally has initiated the arbitration process under Chapter Eleven of the NAFTA. Odyssey provided a public version of the NOA to the Mexican Government which will be posted on Mexico’s public access website. Should the claim proceed to a full hearing on the merits, Odyssey is confident that its position will prevail and that the company and ExO will be granted substantial damages, equivalent to the fully realized value of the project.
“We continue to believe that a negotiated settlement in lieu of further litigation under NAFTA is in Mexico’s and Odyssey’s best interests, and we hope to continue a constructive dialogue with the current Mexican Administration. I returned from consultations in Mexico with a renewed sense of optimism that this project will move forward and will create significant benefits for both Odyssey’s investors and the people of Mexico, including the enhancement of Mexico’s food security and self-sufficiency,” stated Mark Gordon, Odyssey CEO. “But, if Mexico does not share these goals, we are prepared to go the distance to ensure our shareholders realize their rightful return on our investment.”
In parallel with the NAFTA action, Odyssey has also been pursuing available domestic remedies, notably through Mexico’s Superior Tribunal of Administrative Justice (TFJA). At a hearing on April 24, 2019, the TFJA advised ExO that in light of a procedural issue arising under Mexican domestic law, its current application would have to be resubmitted to the court in a different form. Odyssey expects the TFJA to issue a formal order soon, which will allow ExO to file an alternative administrative action. In that process, ExO can seek annulment of the SEMARNAT decision of October 12, 2018.
According to ExO’s Mexican legal counsel, the TFJA’s recent determination is neither a reversal of their unanimous decision of March 21, 2018, which nullified SEMARNAT’s original denial of the MIA on April 7, 2016, nor is it a validation of the legality of SEMARNAT’s denial of the MIA October 12, 2018.
“Our decision to undertake the NAFTA action earlier this year has just been reinforced by this unanticipated additional delay in the domestic legal process in Mexico. We now have the right to pursue this additional appeal option presented to us by the domestic court in parallel with the NAFTA action. We have full confidence in the environmental and economic merits of this project and will continue to take all necessary steps to protect shareholder assets,” Gordon concluded.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX) is engaged in deep-ocean exploration using innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to provide access to critical resources worldwide. Our core focus is the discovery, development and extraction of deep-ocean minerals. Odyssey also provides marine services for private clients and governments. For additional details, please visit www.odysseymarine.com.
Forward Looking Information
Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 1, 2019. The financial and operating projections as well as estimates of mining assets are based solely on the assumptions developed by Odyssey that it believes are reasonable based upon information available to Odyssey as of the date of this release. All projections and estimates are subject to material uncertainties and should not be viewed as a prediction or an assurance of actual future performance. The validity and accuracy of Odyssey's projections will depend upon unpredictable future events, many of which are beyond Odyssey's control and, accordingly, no assurance can be given that Odyssey's assumptions will prove true or that its projected results will be achieved.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. We use certain terms in this press release, such as "measured", "indicated," "inferred" and "resources," which the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that part or all of the inferred mineral resource exists, or is economically or legally mineable, and are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 10-K which may be secured from us or from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.
Laura BartonOdyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
(813) 876-1776 x 2562
Source: Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.