Intrepid, which was forced out of Tujuh Bukit in July by its Indonesian joint venture partner, PT Indo Multi Niaga (PT IMN), released a statement late yesterday clearing up rumours that its rights in the project had been transferred to a third party.
The statement was prompted by an article in the Sydney Morning Herald and claimed that according to documents obtained by Fairfax, Intrepid's joint-venture partners in Indonesia had sold the giant project to somebody else.
Intrepid has obtained a copy of the documentation that implies a transfer of mining exploration title, known as IUP in Banyuwangi regency, to a company called PT Bumi Sukses Indo(BSI).
As far as Intrepid can tell, the company believes the document signed by the Banyuwangi regent appears to be genuine, and suggests that IUPs in Banyuwangi were issued in July 2012 - the month Intrepid was kicked off site.
However, Intrepid noted that the most recent formal lists of certified "clean and clear" IUPs issued by the Indonesian Energy and Minerals Department did not reflect this holding.
In a separate announcement provided on Intrepid's website yesterday, Intrepid said it was of the understanding that the majority of underlying shareholders in BSI included Provident Capital Partners, Edwin Soeryadjaya and associate, and influential businessman Garibaldi Thohir.
Since Intrepid has been absent at the site, it is understood personnel associated with Indonesian explorer Sihayo Gold and its consultants, as well as personnel of Provident Capital Partners, had visited the site and been undertaking supervisory work.
Concerns over ownership issues at TB have been plaguing the company for months, resulting in volatile share price movement.
The company was recently removed from the S&P/ASX 200 index.
Intrepid's problems at TB have been laid bare in the media and just recently, Intrepid said it would vigorously defend claims it wrongly obtained its seized Tujuh Bukit asset after confirming it had been served with a lawsuit.
The writ was instituted by IndoAust Mining and Sihayo Gold's outgoing chief executive officer Paul Willis and came in the wake of reports from the Australian Financial Reviewthat referred to Willis as the man credited with discovering the Tujuh Bukit project. It went on to state that Willis was alleging Intrepid and the other listed parties forced him to sign two agreements through methods of intimidation, which effectively released his rights over TB in April 2008.
Despite claims Intrepid has acted unlawfully in obtaining its rights at TB, Intrepid reiterated it acted in full compliance with laws.
"Intrepid asserts that it remains legally entitled to an 80% economic interest in the Tujuh Bukit project and disputes that the current uncertainty over ownership rights is merely a contractual dispute between commercial parties," the company said.
"Intrepid further asserts that it is the victim of an attempt at criminal fraud that is now under investigation by Indonesian police."
Intrepid chief executive Brad Gordon said the company would devote itself to a long-term battle to retain its rights.
In a two-page appendix, Intrepid provided detailed background on its involvement with TB.
Contrary to claims from Willis that he was forced by methods of intimidation into handing over his rights at TB, Intrepid detailed a different version of events.
Intrepid said that Willis, who was acting as a technical advisor and financer to PT IMN, indicated to Intrepid subsidiary Emperor Mines that the Indonesian counterparties no longer wanted to work with Emperor because they were seeking more money and wanted an Indonesian JV partner.
Intrepid said it entered directly into discussions with Reza Nazaruddin and Maya Miranda Ambarsari, shareholders of PT IMN, due to misinformation being provided to it by Willis.
The companies then formalised an ongoing JV agreement in respect of the project and the Indonesian counterparties indicated to Willis they no longer wished to continue their collaboration with him due to breaches of trust.
Emperor then agreed to reimburse Willis for his expenditure on the project.
Intrepid has invested about $A100 million in Tujuh Bukit since becoming a partner in the prospective copper-gold play in 2007.
Shares in Intrepid last traded up 2% to 26c.