Vancouver, B.C., May 29, 2012. Empire Mining Corporation (EPC: TSX-V
) is pleased to report that it has won a lawsuit against the Albanian Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Energy ("METE"
), respecting Empire's Bulqiza chromite project licenses. As expected, METE has requested a hearing date for an appeal of this decision, which has been set for June 26, 2012.
Empire initiated this lawsuit over METE's administrative ruling of October 31, 2011 (the "Ruling
"), which materially confined and restricted Empire's mining rights concerning the Bulqiza chromite project. Though the initial Ruling granted Empire a one-year extension of its mining rights, it systematically removed regions with the most prospective value, including those containing significant historical resources of chromite. The Albanian court ruled in favour of Empire, concluding that the Ruling violates applicable Albanian mining law and that Empire should have been granted the extension on the entire geographical area requested. Although Empire succeeded in the original court decision, METE has appealed to the Tirana Court of Appeal on this matter, and this appeal will be heard on June 26, 2012. METE has argued that the Ruling is supported by provisions of new Albanian mining law, whereas Empire and the court of first instance hold that the term of Empire's mining rights are not governed by these legal changes.
While this matter remains under appeal, Empire's mining rights in Albania remain limited and readers are cautioned that Empire may not be successful on appeal, and additional appeals by METE may be possible in certain circumstances. Additionally, it is uncertain when the Tirana Court of Appeal will deliver its judgment respecting the appeal. As a result, until this matter is completed Empire's Albanian operations will remain on care and maintenance as originally announced on November 7, 2011.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
President & CEO
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This release contains forward-looking information and statements, as defined by law including without limitation Canadian securities laws and the "safe harbor" provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("forward-looking statements"), respecting the appeal, possible subsequent appeals, and Empire's Albanian project remaining on care and maintenance. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including without limitation that the court date of June 26, 2012 will be maintained; general compliance with Albanian law; risks that Empire will not be victorious on appeal either completely or partially; risks associated with exploration projects, mineral reserve and resource estimates (including the risk of assumption and methodology errors); dependence on third parties for services, including in particular Albanian legal assistance; non-performance by contractual counterparties; title risks; and general business and economic conditions. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions that may prove to be incorrect, including without limitation assumptions about: that Empire will be successful on appeal; that METE or other Albanian government branches will not subsequently appeal; that if victorious on appeal, that Albanian authorities will return the licenses to Empire; general business and economic conditions; the timing and receipt of required approvals; availability of financing; that Empire's legal representatives in Albania will continue to provide services in connection with this matter; and ongoing relations with service providers employees, partners and joint venturers. The foregoing list is not exhaustive and Empire undertakes no obligation to update any of the foregoing except as required by law.