QUETTA: The counsel for Balochistan government on Reko Diq, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, has said that the claims of ownership of copper and gold mines by Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) in International Court of Arbitration have been rejected.
“Now not only can the Government of Balochistan make investment decisions on its own but it will also be able to hand it over to a company or a third party,” he said.
He shared his views during a briefing about Reko Diq project to the members of Balochistan Assembly on Monday where a large number of newsmen were also present. He said that after the hearings in 2014, the final decisions are expected soon in International Court of Arbitration and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Responding to a query, he communicated to members of the assembly that the project came to the fore by the name of Chagai Hills Joint Venture Agreement in 1993. In 2006 a Chilean company Antafogosta bought it from Australian company BHP. It was eventually sold to Canadian Barrek Gold Company for an amount of 240 billion dollars. He added that in 2011 work began on the project.
He said that as per the contract with TCC, in no more than an area of 99 kilometers, 14 locations were indentified with reservoirs of gold and copper.
Responding to yet another question, he said that the investment demand for TCC was 220 billion dollars and that the next hearing of Reko Diq was in October 2016.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2015.