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Reko Diq project — exploiting own treasures

Khalid A Khokhar
Amongst dozens of ongoing mega development projects in Balochistan, Reko-Diq gold and copper mining project is considered to be a big national strategic asset that would transform Balochistan as the richest province in the country. According to experts involved in mining and exploration, some 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold lie in the Reko Diq area (EL-5) in the Chaghi area of Pakistan’s southwest Baluchistan province – bigger than those evaluated at Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondido in Chile. The discovery heralded attraction of all the 12 major companies involved in mining & exploration business with the mining magnets started “behind-the-scene lobbying” for getting the contract at Reko-Diq from Balochistan Development Authority (BDA). After due deliberations, a Canadian and Chilean company Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) was given the licence for exploring copper, gold and other base metals in EL-5 area, by the government of Balochistan. Under the agreement, 75 per cent shares were given to TCC and 25 per cent to the BDA. Reports emerging from various sources indicate that the US $52 billion of natural deposit will be sold for just US $08 billion to the TCC. The mind-boggling question is why 75% of reserves are being given to get 25% back after investing 25% in (EL-5) project? According to reliable estimate, only a small part of the Reko Diq gold and copper mines (EL-5) have deposits worth US $270 billion. Two licences (EL-6 & EL-8 other bigger deposits in the same belt) were given to the same company (TCC) on a 100 per cent ownership basis and without any share to the government of Pakistan.
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