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Arbitration Provisions in Mining Agreements

John L. Neff, Mining Agreements (1979)

Provisions regarding arbitration of disputes have proliferated in mining agreements and mining leases, and whether this is by conscious choice of the draftsman or the parties, or is simply because of rote copying of prior agreements and forms, is not always clear. Generally, the suspicion is fairly strong that the arbitration provision has been inserted by someone with only a very rudimentary concept of what is really involved. This is unfortunate because in many cases the arbitration provision may prove to be the most important paragraph in the agreement. Arbitration, as a method of settling disputes, has been much touted as a faster, less expensive, and more expeditious method of bringing a dispute to an end than would be the case in judicial proceedings. The appeal is obvious, particularly to layman and law professors who somehow visualize being able to choose an individual who is familiar with the terminology and trade practices, who will informally hear out the parties and make a decision, avoiding the tedium of lengthy court proceedings. Unfortunately, establishing a method to assure the selection of arbitrators with the wisdom of Solomon, a highly developed sense of justice, or the judicial temperament of an experienced trial judge, has not been evolved. Nonetheless, arbitration has particular appeal in jurisdictions in which the court dockets are overcrowded, and length