Saindak Project: Balochistan Govt extends mining lease of Chinese company for 15 years

Notification of the lease extension sent to federal government and Chinese Company


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Staff Reporter:

The Balochistan government extended the mining lease of a Chinese company for 15 years at Saindak Project. The Chinese company has been working in Balochistan’s Chaghi district at Saindak Project.

A notification issued by Balochistan’s Mines and Minerals department said that the lease has been extended by the chief minister, Jam Kamal Khan, and provincial government. Chinese company’s agreement with the then federal government was scheduled to be expired in 2022 and 15 years extension has been awarded after expiry fo agreement, the notification mentioned. Copies of the notification have been dispatched to the federal government and Chinese company in this regard.

The Chinese company has decided to invest further 45 million dollars.

The journey to Saindak from Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, is about 660 kilometres long. To reach Saindak, visitors first have to reach the bordering town of Taftan, before travelling another 30 kilometres to reach the main site of the Saindak project. But the journey paints a picture of desolation: until you reach Saindak, there is no human settlement barring a solitary village.

The Geological Survey of Pakistan discovered copper deposits in Saindak in 1961. “In 1972 and 1973,” notes a document obtained from Balochistan’s mines department, “the [Geological Survey of Pakistan] and [the] United Geological Survey confirmed the existence of copper by diamond core drilling core of five holes in Saindak.”

This led to the formation of the Resource Development Corporation on April 15, 1974, which was owned and managed by the government of Pakistan. The corporation later turned into the Saindak Metals Limited (SML), tasked with mining copper and gold from the region. Although the company was operational through the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, it only came into its own in the 1990s after it inked an agreement with a Chinese firm named the China Metallurgical Group Corporations (MCC). The pact was to build the Saindak Copper-Gold Project on a turnkey basis.

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