Reko Diq deal signed with Barrick Gold, Balochistan to get 25% share
Prime Minister Imran Khan, CM Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo and others witnessing the agreement signing ceremony about Reko Diq Project: Photo provided by DGPR

Syed Ali Shah :

After thorough deliberations, finally, Pakistan has signed the Reko Diq agreement with the Barrick Gold Company in Islamabad. Prime Minister, Iman Khan, Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo, Federal Ministers Shaukat Tareen, Hamad Azhar and Chief of Barrick Gold Marks Bristow witnessed the agreement-signing ceremony in the federal capital.

Prime Minister Imran Khan took to social media network Twitter and announce that Reko Diq would liberate Pakistan from “crippling debt” and it would also generate 8,000 jobs in the area.

Under the agreement, Balochistan would get a share of 25 percent, Islamabad 25 percent and the company would get 50 percent share. “Balochistan would also be paid royalty and taxes”, CM Bizenjo told the participants of the function. Bizenjo termed it a positive stride towards attracting foreign investment in Balochistan, the country’s resource-rich province. “Balochistan would be now known for investment rather than terrorism”, the CM said.

The multi-billion-dollar project was suspended in 2011

The multi-billion-dollar was suspended in 2011 by the then government over a dispute over its licensing legality Reko Diq, an area of Chaghi district of Balochistan hosts the world’s largest undeveloped open pit copper-gold porphyry deposits.

“Barrick has successfully partnered with host countries across the globe”, Mr. Marks Bristow, the Chief of the Barrick Gold told the function. He stated that the company shares economic benefits generated by mines with core stakeholders.

Reko Diq

On July 29, 1993, BHP Minerals (BHP) and the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) had signed the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA). Subsequently, on Nov 23, 2006, the TCC had bought BHP’s interests in CHEJVA for US$ 240 million and became a party to the CHEJVA pursuant to a Novation Agreement with BHP and the Government of Balochistan.

On August 26, 2011, the TCC had submitted its feasibility report and an application for mining lease which was rejected by the Licensing Authority on November 15, 2011. On November 6, 2011, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court asking the top court to order the Balochistan government to refrain from issuing a mining license in an arbitrary and unlawful manner. On January 6, 2013, the Supreme Court held CHEJVA to be void ab initio.

TCC instituted proceedings before ICSID

On December 12, 2011, the TCC had instituted proceedings before the ICSID for alleged violations by Pakistan of Australia-Pakistan BIT, 1997; and, before ICC for alleged breach by the Balochistan government of contractual obligations under CHEJVA. The ICC Tribunal had stayed its proceedings in deference to the ICSID proceedings.

On February 12, 2016, the Tribunal had issued a draft decision on jurisdiction and liability and held that (i) it has jurisdiction over TCC’s claims; (ii) TCC had made an investment in Pakistan; and, (iii) Pakistan has expropriated TCC’s investment in Pakistan and breached its BIT obligations.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.