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Balochistan to take up Saindak lease issue with federal government

Updated October 20, 2018

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The MCC Resources Development Limited (MRDL),  owned by the Chinese government, working on the Saindak copper-gold mining project. —File photo
The MCC Resources Development Limited (MRDL), owned by the Chinese government, working on the Saindak copper-gold mining project. —File photo

The Balochistan Assembly has formed an eleven-member committee to take up with the federal government the issue of the lease of the Saindak copper-gold project to a Chinese company, it emerged on Saturday.

The committee includes government and opposition lawmakers including Finance Minister Arif Jan Muhammad Hassani, Balochistan National Party (BNP) legislator Sanaullah Baloch, Khaliq Hazara of Hazara Democratic Party, and Information Minister Zahoor Buledi.

The federal government had leased out the mega project to a Chinese company for a five-year period on October 17, 2017.

Although the federal cabinet had approved the extension in the original contract with the consent of the former PML-N-led Balochistan government, the terms of the agreement are often criticised by nationalist leaders for being unfavourable to Balochistan.

BNP ideologue Sanaullah Baloch had raised the issue on October 4 during a session of the Balochistan Assembly.

Explore: The Saindak files

"The Balochistan government was completely bypassed while leasing out the project to a Chinese company," Baloch told DawnNewsTV after the formation of the committee.

The federal government gets a 50 per cent share in the profit of the Saindak project while the rest goes to the Chinese company. Of its 50pc share, the federal government keeps 20pc profit and passes on 30pc earnings to the provincial government.

In addition, Balochistan receives a 5pc royalty over the Saindak copper-cum-gold project.

The committee will devise ways to seek a reasonable solution for handing over the Saindak project to the province, in line with the 18th Constitutional amendment, a notification released by the Assembly said.

"Balochistan must be kept on board with regard to all decisions," Baloch reiterated.