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ISLAMABAD: The Balochistan government is scrutinising a proposal submitted by a local consortium for development of Reko Diq, a copper and gold mine in Balochistan, an official of Balochistan government, on condition of anonymity told Business Recorder.

On May 15, 2021, a local consortium had made a proposal to develop the copper and gold mine. The consortium, “National Resources Private Limited” had proposed to the provincial government, it is ready to develop and implement the Tanjeel reserves as a starter project, followed by development of the Reko Diq area reserves.

The official said the provincial government is working on various proposals for the development of the Reko Diq.

However, he said the enforcement of a $6 billion award that the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) slapped on the country on July 12, 2019 for revoking the TTC contract for mining is federal government’s subject.

The Supreme Court had blocked the joint venture, Balochistan Mineral Exploration Company (BMEC) and TCC, in 2013 from developing Reko Diq.

In May, Balochistan Provincial Assembly also constituted a 10-member special committee of parliamentarians headed by Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo to look into the issue of licences granted to companies including agreements signed with Tethyan Copper for exploration of minerals in the province. A reference was also pending in accountability court, Quetta, against 26 people, including former officers of the Balochistan government, in the Reko Diq copper-cum-gold project case for causing a loss of billions of rupees. When the penalty was first announced in July 2019, the prime minister formed a commission to investigate the reasons as to how Pakistan ended up in this predicament; who was responsible for making the country suffer such a loss and what are the lessons learnt, so that mistakes made do not repeat in the future. However, the finding of the commission was not been published, the official said. On May 25, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) high court ruled that Pakistan could retain its assets earlier attached in connection with the Reko Diq mines case.

At a press conference, Federal Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem said that an out-of-court settlement with the TCC is still not out of question.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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