Caretakers signed Reko Diq deal: SC | Pakistan Today

Caretakers signed Reko Diq deal: SC

ISLAMABAD – While hearing the Reko Diq lease case on Tuesday, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday observed that the deal was signed under a caretaker government and appeared to have been finalised in a day.
A four-member SC bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing petitions challenging award of Reko Diq lease contract to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) – a Canadian consortium of Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals – for exploring gold and copper reserves.
Justice Ramday said they “have to test each clause of the agreement on the touchstone of 1970 Mining Rules”. Petitioner Tariq Asad advocate argued that according to Balochistan Mining Concession Rules 1970, the licence or the lease for exploration could only be granted or assigned to a person or company registered in Pakistan.
Justice Ramday said that the Mining Rules 1970 state that the applicant had to disclose the identity of each of the members of board of directors. He noted that prior to the approval by the Balochistan government, the Balochistan Development Authority had signed a joint venture agreement. The judge said somebody had to inform the court whether the Balochistan Mineral Rules 2002 were operating with retrospective effect.
Balochistan Advocate General Salahuddin Mengal said TCC had concealed fact in its feasibility report, as the Reko Diq area might also have reserves of other minerals like lead, zinc, silver and platinum. The chief justice said a company could apply only for exploring one mineral at a time under the mining rules, but BHP was given licence for exploring several minerals.
Mengal said the licence issued to BHP Australia on December 8, 1996, was for associate mineral, means for many minerals.

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