SC tells Reko Diq case parties to mutually resolve issue | Pakistan Today

SC tells Reko Diq case parties to mutually resolve issue

The Supreme Court told the parties involved in the exploration and mining of Reko Diq Copper and Gold Project on Tuesday to handle and resolve the matter of mining lease with mutual cooperation, and to report to the court by Wednesday (today).
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing a case against the leasing of Reko Diq gold and copper mines in Balochistan, worth over $260 billion, to a foreign exploration and mining company Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a Canadian and Chilean consortium of Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals, by the federal and provincial government in violation of law.
The Balochistan government, the federal government and TCC are the main parties (respondents) in the case. During the hearing, the chief justice said if the respondents would agree to handle the matter with mutual cooperation, the court could nullify the Balochistan High Court verdict, which prima facie was a hurdle in the transparency of the mining lease. He stated that renewal of exploration and mining licences was an administrative matter, which would have to be decided by the Balochistan government.
Lawyer Tariq Asad, one of the petitioners, told the court that he wanted to separately challenge the mining rules. The SC, however, replied that the mining rules had already been challenged, thus he would have to approach the high court. The chief justice noted that the licence for exploration and mining of gold and copper mines at Reko Diq obtained by TCC had already expired. He said the authority of issuance of mining and exploration licences rested with the Balochistan government.
Tariq Asad said the Balochistan cabinet had already decided that the exploration and mining license would not be issued to the TCC. The court then told Ahmer Bilal Soofi, counsel for the Balochistan government, to take instructions from his client in this regard and inform the court of developments on Wednesday. The counsel told the court that his client was waiting for the court verdict. Justice Muhammad Sair Ali said the court could not decide the matter in place of government. Later the hearing was adjourned till today.

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