TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX), a deep-ocean exploration pioneer engaged in the discovery, development and extraction of seabed minerals, is pleased to report that on Friday, September 4, 2020, Odyssey filed the First Memorial in the case brought against Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on its behalf and on behalf of subsidiary Exploraciones Oceánicas (ExO), alleging that Mexico wrongfully denied environmental approval of the ExO Phosphate project in breach of NAFTA.

The First Memorial presents Odyssey’s NAFTA claims that Mexico, among other things:

  • Violated the Minimum Standard of Treatment;
  • Indirectly expropriated the investment; and
  • Treated the investment less favorably than it treated domestic investors.

Odyssey seeks damages of more than $2.3 billion including interest from April 2016 to the date of the First Memorial’s submission.

The First Memorial is supported by documentary evidence, and 20 expert reports and witness statements.  In summary, this evidence includes:

  • MERITS:  Testimony from independent environmental experts and legal experts that the environmental impact of ExO’s phosphate project is minimal and readily mitigated by the mitigation measures proposed by ExO.  Witnesses also testified that Mexico’s denial of environmental approval by the prior administration was politically motivated and not justified on environmental grounds, and that Mexico granted environmental permits to similar dredging projects in areas that are considered more environmentally sensitive than ExO’s project location.
  • RESOURCE:  An independent marine geologist testified as to the size and character of the resource.
  • OPERATIONAL VIABILITY:  Engineering experts testified that the project uses established dredging and processing technology, and the project’s anticipated CAPEX and OPEX was reasonable.   
  • VALUE:  A Phosphate market analyst testified that the project’s projected CAPEX and OPEX would make the project one of the lowest cost phosphate rock resources in the world, and damages experts testified the project would be commercially viable and profitable.

This NAFTA arbitration is being administered by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and it is expected that a redacted version of the First Memorial will be available to the public within approximately 60 days. Once the Memorial is made available by ICSID, Odyssey will provide a link to the filing on its website, www.odysseymarine.com.

The NAFTA hearing is scheduled to take place in January 2022 unless settled earlier by the parties.

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, 2019, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 30, 2020. 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.

CONTACT:
Laura Barton 
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
(813) 876-1776 x 2562
laura@odysseymarine.com