Re: Barrick Gold Corporation and its subsidiaries, Cia Minera Nevada Ltda., Cia Minera Nevada SpA (together, “Barrick”): Pascua Lama Project (the “Project”), Silver Wheaton Corp. (“SLW”) and related Securities Act (BC) continuous disclosure requirements, and news publications.
We are the solicitors for Mountainstar Gold Inc. (formerly Mountain-West Resources Inc.). We are writing further to Barrick's and SLW’s numerous filings on SEDAR, which publications make false assertions of ownership over a portion of the mining concessions on the Chilean side of the Project.
In particular, Barrick has asserted ownership of the concessions called Tesoro Uno 1 -30 to Tesoro Doce 1 - 5, inclusive (the "Tesoro Concessions"), as shown in the list of concessions included in the Pascua Lama Protocol, published on page 8 of the "Diario Oficial de la Republica de Chile".
Barrick has also asserted ownership of all concessions included in Appendix A of Barrick's Technical Report dated March 31, 2011, specifically including:
108 TESORO TRES 1 AL 30
109 TESORO CUATRO 1 AL 30
110 TESORO SETS 1 AL 20
111 TESORO DIEZ 1 AL 20
112 TESORO ONCE 1 AL 20
These assertions of Barrick’s ownership of the Tesoro Concessions are manifestly false. The Tesoro Concessions documents of title show “Hector Unda Llanos”, not Barrick, as the owner; nor is there a notation of Barrick’s interest in the Tesoro Concessions in the margins of the Tesoro Concessions’ titles, as is required by Chilean mining law in such circumstances.
Moreover, the Tesoro Concessions have been encumbered with a Court-Ordered Injunction (the "Injunction") continuously since June 2001, in a Chilean legal action having case No. C-1912-2001 (Villar-Compania) in the 14th Civil Court of Santiago; we are certain Barrick was at all material times aware of both the legal action and the referenced Injunction. The Injunction prohibits, inter alia, the sale, contracting, encumbering or commercial exploitation of the Tesoro Concessions, including the minerals contained therein.
We conclude that SLW, having done its sufficient due diligence prior to entering into the Silver Purchase Agreement dated September 8, 2009 with Barrick, was also aware of both the legal action and the Injunction, both of which are a matter of public record in Chile. We note with interest that in contrast to the opinion respecting the title to the Project’s Argentine concessions, SRK consultants had been careful to note at paragraph 3.2.1 of the SLW Technical Report dated September 9, 2009 “...The mineral concessions have not been independently reviewed and verified by SRK. SRK have relied upon legal opinion supplied to Silver Wheaton for this information.”.
As regarding the Los Amarillos 1-3000 concessions (the "Amarillo Concessions") which are super-positioned geographically with the Tesoro Concessions, our client’s Chilean mining expert, Catalino Albanez, has opined that according to the records held by Sernatgeomin, the Amarillo Concessions are limited to the exploitation of non-metallic (nitrates and salts) minerals, and as such cannot support exploitation of the metallic (gold, silver and copper) Project. Notwithstanding this inability of the Amarillo Concessions to support the Project, the Amarillo Concessions are improperly included in Barrick's Project 2011 Technical Report.
Both the Tesoro Concessions and the Amarillo concessions are effectively super- positioned with the Amarillo Norte and Amarillo Sur concessions ("Restituted Amarillo"), which constitutes a portion of the mining concessions in which our client, Mountainstar Gold Inc., has obtained certain rights. These rights are set out in the Option Agreement filed on SEDAR May 28, 2012 (the "Option Agreement").
SLW's improper inclusion of the Tesoro Concessions and the Amarillo Concessions in its Pascua-Lama Project Technical Report dated September 9, 2009 and, SLW’s related publications, are interfering with our client's ability to carry on its business as described in the Option Agreement and accordingly, we hereby demand on behalf of our client that SLW (and its employees and representatives) immediately cease and desist from repeating allegations of this nature.
Mountainstar Gold Inc. takes its reputation extremely seriously and will take all necessary steps to protect that reputation. This includes, without limitation, commencing proceedings against SLW for defamation and slander of title and/or filing a complaint with the applicable securities commissions. In any such proceedings Mountainstar will seek substantial damages, including general, aggravated, and punitive damages and Mountainstar reserves the right to share this letter with the applicable securities commissions.