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KARACHI: Balochistan Mineral Exploration Company (BMEC), a JV of Balochistan government (90 percent) and government of Pakistan (10 percent) and the concession holder of EL199 (consisting of Rekodiq and Tanjeel reserves) has received a proposal from the National Resources Private Limited (NRL) on unsolicited basis to develop and implement the Tanjeel reserves as a starter project, followed by development of the vast Rekodiq area reserves.

The NRL is a domestic joint venture company of Arif Habib Equity (Pvt) Ltd, Mari Petroleum Company Ltd, Liberty Mills Ltd, Reliance Commodities (Pvt) Ltd (Fatima Group), Y B Pakistan Ltd (Lucky Group) and South Western Mining (Pvt) Ltd.

In an introductory presentation to the BMEC Board, NRL summarily highlighted the salient features of the submitted proposal. NRL CEO Shamsuddin A Shaikh said the province of Balochistan has a significant role to play in the development of Pakistan and its economy. Through development of Tanjeel and Rekodiq under Public Private Partnership, NRL is hopeful that it can usher in a new era for the progress of this region through this initiative, said.

He said the project will have a complete social uplift package associated with it for the entire area, in addition to the development of the mineral cadastre to aid the development of the mining sector.

He requested the BMEC Board to permit NRL to carry out further investigations of the mineral resources and the energy and water resources, which would be required for the expeditious development of the proposed project.

Hafiz Abdul Basit, additional chief secretary (Development) Balochistan / chairman BMEC Board appreciated the initiative and assured representatives of NRL that the matter will be reviewed by the transaction advisor (already hired by the company) and dealt with in accordance with the laws, in the best interest of the province and the country.

BMEC is committed to its role as a catalyst towards the prosperity of Balochistan and Pakistan and deems it as its responsibility to take measures that benefit the people of its country.

Reuters adds: A local consortium has made a proposal to develop a major copper and gold mine in Balochistan after a court decision blocked the mine's development by a joint venture between Chile's Antofagasta and Canada's Barrick Gold.

Supreme Court blocked the joint venture, Tethyan Copper, in 2013 from developing Reko Diq - one of the world's biggest untapped deposits of copper and gold - following a court case over how the contract had been awarded.

Government was later ordered by a global arbitration body to pay $5.8 billion in damages after Tethyan Copper took it to court.

The local consortium, National Resources Private Limited, said in a statement on Sunday that it had submitted a proposal to develop Reko Diq and another major copper and gold mine, also in Balochistan.

"The consortium has proposed (to the) government to develop and implement the Tanjeel reserves as a starter project, followed by development of the vast Reko Diq area reserves," National Resources Private Limited said.

The Balochistan government said it was studying the proposal, the financial aspects of which were not disclosed.

The federal government has said it is in talks with Tethyan Copper about a settlement after the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 2019 ordered Pakistan to pay damages of $5.84 billion to Tethyan Copper. The venture had already sunk more than $220 million into the project before the project was blocked.

Work on the mine has stalled since then.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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