Intrepid Mines top brass have finally broken their silence over the intrigue in Indonesia, claiming that unscrupulous local interests are stealing their gold mine.

Chief executive Brad Gordon confirmed Monday’s story in BusinessDay that the ownership of the massive Tujuh Bukit project has been transferred to other parties.

In a statement released late yesterday, Gordon and his chairman Ian McMaster said the company was working with Indonesian police to get the mine back.

Intrepid lost control of the project in July when its joint venture partners – an Indonesian couple Maya Ambarsari and Reza Nazaruddin – seized the site and ordered Intrepid workers to evacuate.

In last night’s dramatic press release, Intrepid claims Maya and Reza have been working in cahoots with powerful businessmen Edwin Soeryadjaya and Garibaldi Thohir, hedge funds Provident Capital and Quantum Pacific Capital, two Singapore stockbrokers and Australian entrepreneur Paul Willis to hoodwink the company and wrest control of the 25 million ounce gold project.

Intrepid had already spent $95 million proving up the Tujuh Bukit resource, one of the top ten projects in the world with a potential 25 million ounces of gold, 80 million ounces of silver and 7 million tonnes of copper.

A month before the project was seized by Intrepid’s partners Maya and Reza in June, the couple had registered a change of ownership of their company IMN. They transferred 80 per cent to new investors.

In July, they transferred the mining licence from their company IMN to a 51 per cent owned subsidiary of IMN called Bumi Sukses Indo (BSI). Via this transfer, Intrepid still had a claim to the gold project as its contracts were held with IMN and IMN still held 51 per cent.

The most recent disclosures however show that Maya and Reza are no longer shareholders of the company which holds the mining licence. The new shareholding is PT Alfa Sukses Indo (5 per cent) and PT Merdeka Serasi Jaya (95 per cent).

The type of mining license held by Intrepid’s JV partner (PT Indo Multi Niaga) is known as an “IUP” and could not be held by foreigners so the company had been running some legal risk all along, since it struck the deal with IMN in August 2007.

Intrepid’s former partner Paul Willis is suing the company for damages claiming he had been cut out of Tujuh Bukit in 2007, just as Maya and Reza had cut Intrepid out of the picture this year.

Willis and his company IndoAust have filed a suit in the Jakarta Court seeking to have the agreements between Intrepid and IMN declared null and void because they were the direct result of an act of duress.

Intrepid rejects the claims.