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Reko Diq project: Balochistan can refuse mining licence, says official

Reko Diq

By Shehzad Baloch

According to the feasibility study of the project, there is approximately $127 billion worth of gold and copper reserves — an estimate contested by the Pakistani experts who say that the real value is over $260 billion.

QUETTA: The Balochistan government has categorically said that it has the right to not grant mining license to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for Reko Diq project if the company does not extend cooperation to the provincial government.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Ahmed Baksh Lehri told journalists here on Tuesday that TCC had submitted an incomplete feasibility report to Balochistan government about the Reko Diq project. “The feasibility report does not carry the complete details of tapped resources at Reko Diq site but just one portion,” he said.

“We have three demands which include a complete feasibility report of the project. We want that refining be done in Balochistan so that metal mining technology can be transferred to Pakistan and we should at least know what is being extracted and what is being exported. Another key demand is that the agreement must be beneficial for the local people,” he told reporters.

The lease for the survey and exploration has already expired, he said. “If the company fails to remove deadlocks then the government can say no,” he said.

TCC, a joint venture between Chile-based Antofagasta Company and Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp served a ‘notice of dispute’ to the Balochistan government last Wednesday.

The partners filed the notice after the provincial government refused to meet the company executives and did not extend the 30-day deadline for it to respond to objections that the provincial government had risen over a mining lease.

According to the feasibility study of the project, there is approximately $127 billion worth of gold and copper reserves — an estimate contested by the Pakistani experts who say that the real value is over $260 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2011.

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