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The government is in the process of striking a deal on the Reko Diq issue but the details are yet to be finalised, according to a senior finance ministry official though the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) remained tightlipped on the matter when contacted by Business Recorder. Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and AGP Anwar Mansoor Khan flew to London for a meeting with Reko Diq Board on October 14, 2019. A spokesman for Finance Ministry, in response to a question with regard to a pay out of US$1 billion to the company, stated that there is nothing final yet and "things are in pipeline".

When this newspaper contacted AGP, he stated that "the matter is confidential and therefore I can't share anything about it. I will not confirm or deny your query."

On October 22, 2019, while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the 1,320-megawatt power plant at Hub, Balochistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated that during his official visit to the US in September, he received a message that chairman of Barrick Gold wanted a meeting with him, adding that "the company is interested to resume working on the project and negotiations are under way to bring them back".

On July 13, 2019, International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes announced a $5.976 billion award against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case with $4.08 billion penalty and $1.87 billion interest to TCC, a joint venture between Chile's Antofagasta Plc and Canada's Barrick Gold, who had filed a law suit in 2012 against Pakistan in the international court of settlement after the Reko Diq contract awarded to it was suspended.

The then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) signed between the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) and Broken Hill Properties Minerals Intermediate Exploration Inc (BHP) in 1993 as void ab initio in the Maulana Abdul Haque vs government of Balochistan case. The CHEJVA granted exploration and mining licenses to BHP in the Reko Diq area, which is located in the Chagai district of Balochistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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