Balochistan presents Reko Diq deals record in SC | Pakistan Today

Balochistan presents Reko Diq deals record in SC

ISLAMABAD – Advocate General of Balochistan Salahuddin Mengal told the Supreme Court on Friday that the provincial government had issued 10 licenses to the foreign companies for exploration of natural reserves at Reko Diq.
A four-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was hearing a case against leasing of Reko Diq gold and copper mines in Balochistan worth over $260 billion to foreign exploration and mining companies by the provincial and federal governments ‘in violation of law’.
He said that out of total 10, eight licenses were surrendered in 1998. To a court query, he said the first license was issued in 1993 with the approval of then governor. The court said the governor had no arbitrary authority to issue such license without approval of the concerned mining department.
Mengal said the chief secretary has started investigation and information was being collected about the officials involved in issuing licenses in 1993 and so on and making contracts with the foreign exploration companies. He said the foreign companies earned over $60 million, but the provincial government was given nothing.
He said the license of Tethyan Copper Company Limited (TCC) was going to expire on February 19.
The court then directed him to ask the government to consider all the contracts and take steps before expiry of the TCC’s license. Raza Kazim, counsel for one of the petitioners, told the court that the BHP Billiton existed in Pakistan even two years before getting the contract in 1993. He said the company had started its work on Reko Diq before establishment of Balochistan Development Authority.
He said the company had obtained 5000 samples from the area before 1993, which was on the record. He prayed the court to constitute a commission to determine the facts of Reko Diq deals. Later the court adjourned further hearing till January 31.

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