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Balochistan firm on running Reko Diq plan

Chief Minister Raisani

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has warned against bypassing his government while issuing the mining licence for the Reko Diq gold and copper project in Chaghi.

Reacting to media reports about secret meetings on the project held by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other important leaders with chiefs of 20 multinational companies, he said the gold and copper reserves belonged to the people of Balochistan and the provincial government could not be bypassed in issuing the mining licence.

Talking to this correspondent, Nawab Raisani said the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) had only been given an exploration licence and not a mining permit.

He said the exploration licence would expire next year and his government had decided that afterwards it would run the project itself.

“We have prepared the PC-1 of the project and it has been approved by the Planning Commission.”

He dispelled a perception that the TCC had been given a 30-year mining licence.The chief minister said the Rs1 billion PC-1 was likely to be approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council at its next meeting and after that the Balochistan government would start work on the project.

He said his government had the capability and equipment to run the project and its first priority would be to manage it on its own. “If there is a technical problem we may get help from the market.”

The chief minister said that according to one estimate the gold and copper reserves in the Reko Diq mountains were worth $1 trillion.

Nawab Raisani said senior scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand had been appointed chairman of the board of directors of the project.

GWADAR PORT: The chief minister said he was trying to cancel an agreement signed with the Singapore Port Authority for operating the Gwadar port, adding that all agreements which undermined the rights and interests of the people of Balochistan would be scrapped.

Original Story