Too Late for Copper Mesa / Those Pesky obstacles

By , August 6, 2008
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Ascendant’s new name; Copper Mesa Mining Corp
The Constitutional Tribunal rules- too late- in favor of Ascendant.
Lawsuit against Carlos Zorrilla declared illegal and malicious;
Upcoming lawsuit in Canada

In the last few years, the shares of Copper Mesa Mining Corp (formerly Ascendant Copper Corporation) have lost approximately 94% of their value, so it was only a matter of time before they would try to change their name, which is what they announced on June 27th (a decision apparently taken by a tiny percentage of its shareholders- most of them company officers).

The proposed new name is Copper Mesa Mining Corp. The company is waiting for regulatory approval.(http://www.canadanewswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2008/27/c8603.html.If they are dreaming the name-change will help “clean up their image” and to make it harder to link the company to its dark past here in Ecuador, or for its officers to avoid criminal lawsuits in Canada, they indeed are dreaming.

Constitutional Court rules- too late- in favor of Ascendant.
In July of 2008 DECOIN found out the constitutional court threw out the case presented last year by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum against Ascendant’s mining concessions in Intag. However, the ruling will not, in the least, affect Ascendant’s loss of its concessions under the resolutions taken by the National Assembly in April of this year, which annulled 88% of Ecuador’s mining concessions. We believe that Ascendant and its subsidiaries will lose all of its concessions in the country in the coming weeks.

Lawsuit declared malicious.
On July of 2006, Leslie Brooke Chaplin, a US citizen, accused Carlos Zorrilla of theft, assault and other made up things, during a completely peaceful public event, and in which hundreds of anti-mining protesters participated (and which was also filmed and monitored by police). The false charges led to arrest and search warrants and a police raid on Mr. Zorrilla’s home, violating a surprising number of laws and basic human rights.The 19 heavily armed police failed to find Carlos, but did leave behind a gun and a probable drug substance meant to further incriminate him in other criminal lawsuits (which, indeed, resulted in another arrest warrant). On July 3rd of this year, the judge overseeing the case finally ruled that the charges WERE MALICIOUS AND RECKLESS.This is the legal definition of malicious lawsuit: involving malice; characterized by wicked or mischievous motives or intentions.“An act done maliciously is one that is wrongful and performed willfully or intentionally, and without legal justification”.In other words, made up to cause harm; false without legal grounds.

The ruling opens the way for Mr. Zorrilla to sue for libel and damages and to open a full-scale investigation to identify the company and/or individuals responsible for the orchestration and funding of this travesty of justice.This, by the way, is the same lawsuit in which Chaplin’s lawyer says he never met Leslie Brooke Chaplin and that his signature was forged on all the legal documents presented in the case. The lawyer is suing Chaplin for the equivalent of identity theft- an extremely serious criminal offense in Ecuador.

And, stay tuned for some earth-shaking news related to an upcoming lawsuit in Canada.

Those pesky other obstacles
Another look at Copper Mesa.Ascendant’s 2008 First Quarter Reports and What the Company is Not Telling and MANY other Pesky Obstacles.

Loss of Concessions.In past economic reports, Copper Mesa officials do a great job of not admitting that the government basically took away their Junin mining concession (Golden 1 and Golden 2) This is what the company says in its latest financial report:”In late January 2008, Ascendant received notices from the Regional Director of Mines, Province of Pichincha, that purport to nullify two concessions, the Golden 1 and Golden 2, that form part of the Junin copper/molybdenum project in Ecuador on the basis that these concessions were granted unconstitutionally”. The government didn’t ‘purport’ to nullify the concessions- it nullified them, plain and clear…. AND legally. Whether a higher court or the Ministry rule otherwise in the future on appeal is totally besides the point. What the company should have told its investors was that their concessions were abolished but that they were negotiating with the government, appealing, begging, threatening to sue, etc.- anything but that the government purported to nullify their concessions. So, legally, right now they do not own Golden 1 nor Golden 2. And even with the latest ruling, the Mining Mandate (explained) below assures that the concessions will stay out of their hands.The Mining Mandate.

On prior releases, the company has given the impression that the Mining Mandate, approved by a 95-1 margin by the nation’s Constituent Assembly on April of 2008, merely froze mining activities in the country. True enough, but the Mandate also abolished concessions rights – without recourse to payment- of 80% of the country’s concessions- including Ascendant’s and any other that: a) threatened water resources; b) was not up to date on its payments to the government; c) did not have an Environmental Impact Study approved, and it limits concessions to 3 concessions per company (including subsidiaries). This sure seems material in nature. The Mandate also called for the creation of a state mining company. Under the Mandate there is no guarantee whatsoever that the companies will recuperate their concessions once the new mining law is drafted. The law will set forth totally new conditions on which to grant mining concessions and approve mining activities, and they are bound to include payment of royalties, a high windfall profit tax, a higher income tax bracket for mining companies, much stricter social and environmental regulations, and a steep per-hectare registration fee. And, there’s a very good chance the state-owned mining company will usurp the juiciest mining projects. The new law, by the way, cannot modify or be in conflict with the Mandate. According to recent (August 2008) Northern Miner article, the expected changes in the law do not bode well for mining companies in Ecuador.

Exploration? In Junin? The company has claimed on several occasions that it has spent money on exploring in the Junin concessions. This is patently false. The last exploration that took place in the Junin area was done by Bishimetals, back in 1996. In case there is any doubt about the above statement, Copper Mesa, formerly Ascendant Copper Corporation has not spent a single penny on exploratory activities in its Junin project. If you look back in the last of the company’s finacial reports, you will find the company saying it has spent millions of dollars on this.

Below is the latest claim:The Company used $1,745,000 in operating activities during the three months ended March 31, 2008, primarily for general and administrative expenses and exploration costs relating to the Junin and Chaucha properties (emphasis mine)
The Problematic Junin Deposit (made more problematic by damn termites!!)On the latest report, the company makes reference to the Micon International’s NI 43-101 report, which designated the Junin deposit to be four times larger than what the Japanese inferred through years of exploration. However, the company failed to inform the public in its latest report that Micon publicly said last year that it can no longer verify its claim, due to damage sustained to the original core samples by, among other factors, termite damage. If a company was, for some obscure reason, wanting to cover up misleading information it generated, this is a damn good way to do it (of course Decoin is not suggesting anything of the sort). The company also failed to inform the public that there a complaint was filed in Canada questioning the procedure used by Micon to assess Ascendant’s Junin’s mineral deposit.Loss of Properties.The company did not report the loss of 17 of its properties in the Junin area. The company permanently lost title to these lands, land which were sitting on top of the copper deposit, when the National Institute for Agrarian Development (INDA) legally abolished the company’s ownership rights due to illegalities in the granting of the original land titles. Given that the company had said that part of their strategy to acquiring properties in the Junin area was to gain access to their concessions- this could constitute a material event.Those Pesky Obstacles.The obstacles listed above are just some of the many the company faces. For example, there is still the fact that most of the Junin concession is covered in primary cloud forests harboring dozens of threatened mammals, birds and amphibians (including the critically endangered brown-faced spider-monkey, jaguars, and spectacled bears). The area is also extremely rich in archeological sites. Under Ecuadorian law, mining in these areas is illegal.

Others include the fact that there is just not enough water in the site or adjacent areas to undertake a mining project the size envisioned by Ascendant; the long-standing opposition by local governments and communities, and of course, the fact that there is a County government law that prohibits mining in native forests! Not to mention that the area above the minerals is not only in primary and secondary native forests, but that it has been managed and occupied by the Junin Community since 1997 and forms part of its community tourism project!Then there was Telimbela…. And ChauchaWith nothing to show as far as real exploratory results, a mining mandate freezing all mining activities, no environmental impact study approved- nor likely in the near or mid-term future….. well, you get the picture. As for Chaucha:: no exploration can take place; and, if it hasn’t already, the company may lose its concession. And wasn’t it last year that the Chilean miner Antofagasta pulled out of the deal it had to develop this site because of very poor results?

Resumen: El juez penal sentenciO que la demanda presentada por Leslie Brooke Chaplin en Julio del 2006 por robo en contra de Carlos Zorrilla fue maliciosa y temeraria, abriendo el camino a que Carlos enjuicie penalmente a Chaplin y se pueda realizar una investigacion para dar con los responsables reales del montaje judicial en contra de Carlos.Mientras tanto, Ascedandt Copper esta tramitando un cambio de nombre a Copper Mesa Mining Company, despues de que sus acciones habrían perdido cerca del 95% de su valor inicial en los ultimos años…Y, el Tribunal Constitucional sentenciO que la demanda de inconstitucionalidad presentada por el Ministerio de Minas y Petróleo el año pasado en contra de las concesiones mineras de Ascendant en Intag no procede- una resolución muy tardía, ya que la empresa perdiO sus concesiones en Abril de este anio por via del Mandato Minero, el mismo que anulO el 88% de las concesiones en el país.

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