Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that the federal government will bear all the financial burden for the development of Reko Diq – one of the world’s biggest untapped deposits of copper and gold.

The statement comes as the political leadership of Balochistan had criticised the “proposed agreement” of the Reko Diq project.

“In line with my govt’s vision for uplift of smaller provinces, I have decided our fed govt will bear all the financial burden for Reko Diq & it’s development on behalf of Govt of Balochistan,” the premier wrote on his official Twitter handle.

According to the prime minister, the move will help usher in an era of prosperity for the people and province of Balochistan.

The Balochistan Assembly had recently adopted a resolution warning that “no agreement about the future of Reko Diq would be accepted without taking Balochistan’s elected representatives and the provincial government on board.”

The resolution expressed “deep concern over non-consultation with the assembly on the proposed agreement on the Reko Diq project.”

The resolution was unanimously passed after the House was informed that the federal government was going to sign an agreement or a memorandum of understating on copper and gold mining without taking the Balochistan government and assembly into confidence.

A special committee consisting of 18 members of the Balochistan Assembly has been set up keeping in view the proposal of the members of the assembly.

Praising PM Imran for the step taken by the federal government, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo tweeted that “the historic decision for the people of Balochistan will usher peace and prosperity in the province.”

THE PROJECT: Tethyan Copper discovered vast mineral wealth more than a decade ago in Reko Diq, at the foot of an extinct volcano near Pakistan’s frontier with Iran and Afghanistan. The deposit was set to rank among the world’s biggest untapped copper and gold mines.

An international arbitration tribunal of the ICSID had slapped a penalty of $6 billion on Pakistan on July 12, 2019, for its 2011 decision to deny a mining lease for the Reko Diq project to the TCC, a consortium of Chilean and Canadian companies.

The tribunal, chaired by Germany’s Klaus Sachs and including Bulgarian arbitrator Stanimir Alexandrov and the UK’s Lord Hoffmann, had ordered Pakistan to pay over $4 billion in damages to the TCC in addition to $1.7 billion in pre-award interest.

The tribunal found that Pakistan had unlawfully denied the TCC a lease to mine copper and gold deposits at the Reko Diq mine, located in Chagai district of Balochistan.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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