Local firm offers to develop Reko Diq reserves

Published May 17, 2021
A view of Reko Diq fields. — Reuters/File
A view of Reko Diq fields. — Reuters/File

QUETTA: Local joint venture company called the National Resources Private Limited (NRL) has presented a comprehensive proposal with all necessary documents to the Balo­chistan Mineral Exploration Company (BMEC) on unsolicited basis to develop the Tanjeel reserves first and then the vast Reko Diq copper-cum-gold reserves.

Officials of the Mines and Mineral Development, Balochistan, confirmed on Sunday that BMEC — a joint venture of the Balochistan government (90 per cent) and the government of Pakistan (10pc) — and the concession holder of EL199 (consisting of Reko Diq & Tanjeel reserves) have received a proposal from the NRL.

“Yes, the BMEC has received the proposal regarding development of Reko Diq and Tanjeel reserves,” a senior BMEC official told Dawn, adding that NRL is a joint venture company including the Arif Habib Equity (Private) Limited, Mari Petroleum Company Limited, Liberty Mills Limited, Reliance Commodities (Private) Limited (Fatima group), Y.B. Pakistan Limited (Lucky group) and South Western Mining (Private) Limited.

The NRL’s chief executive officer, Shamsuddin A. Sheikh, said that in an introductory presentation to the BMEC Board, NRL highlighted the salient features of its proposal. “The province of Balochistan has a significant role to play in the development of Pakistan and its economy. Through development of Tanjeel and Reko Diq reserves under Public-Private Partnership, the NRL is hopeful that it can usher in a new era of progress in this region,” he said, adding the Chagai area has great potential and vast mineral resources.

“The project will have a complete social uplift package for the entire area, in addition to the development of the mining sector,” Mr Sheikh said.

“We have also requested the BMEC Board to permit NRL to carry out further investigations of the mineral resources and the energy and water resources, which would be required for the expeditious completion of the proposed project.

He said that NRL submitted its comprehensive proposal with all required documentation and feasibility study as the company having local finances and technical knowhow wanted to help the Balochistan government in developing the mining area and resolving the issues involved, including the matter of $6 billion fine imposed by an international court in Reko Diq cases.

“Initially, around $5bn to $6bn would be needed for starting the work on developing the reserves but after that more investment would not be ruled out,” Mr Sheikh said.

Answering a question, he said the response of the BMEC Board and officials was very positive and they assured the NRL that the matter would be reviewed by the transaction adviser (already hired by the company) and dealt with in accordance with the laws, in the best interest of the province and the country.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021

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