President files reference in SC on Reko Diq agreement

President files reference in SC on Reko Diq agreement

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, filed a reference in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking its opinion on the settlement agreement on Reko Diq.

The federal cabinet had approved sending a presidential reference on the Reko Diq agreement to the Supreme Court.

Earlier on March 20, 2022, the then Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had announced that an agreement for the development of the Reko Diq mine had been reached with a foreign company Barrick Gold, according to which Balochistan would have a 25% share.

Pakistan and Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) — a Canadian and Chilean consortium of Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals — had agreed to divide shares with each side getting 50% of them, contrary to 25% shares for Pakistan in the previous deal.

In 2019, Pakistan managed to get a reduced penalty from a massive $16 billion to $6 billion in the Reko Diq case. In a 700-page ruling, the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) awarded a $4.08 billion penalty and $1.87 billion in interest to Pakistan. The amount will be paid to TCC.

The TCC had been granted a licence for gold and copper mining at Reko Diq, area of Balochistan, but a Supreme Court of Pakistan bench headed by then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had cancelled the agreement with the company on January 06, 2013.

The Supreme Court had declared the Reko Diq agreement void and in conflict with the country’s laws. The court had ruled that the agreement reached on July 23, 1993 with TCC was in conflict with the laws of the country.

Reko Diq sits over the popular Tethyan copper belt and is known to have the fifth largest deposits of gold and copper in the world.



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