Details about Reko Diq to be disclosed soon: CM Bizenjo

Published January 11, 2022
A file photo of Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo. — Photo by Syed Ali Shah
A file photo of Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo. — Photo by Syed Ali Shah

CHAGAI: Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo said on Monday that details with facts and figures about Reko Diq copper and gold mining project would be disclosed soon.

Talking to local journalists outside Dalbandin airport along with Balochistan Governor Zahoor Ahmed Agha and Rakhshan Division Commissioner Saifullah Khetran, Mr Bizenjo said that for the first time a detailed briefing about Reko Diq project was conducted for the elected representatives of Balochistan at the provincial assembly.

He was referring to a Balochistan Assembly session held last month in which lawmakers from the opposition and treasury benches were given an in-camera briefing on the Reko Diq copper and gold mining project.

In 2019, the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ordered Pakistan to pay damages of $5.84 billion to Tethyan Copper — a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta and Canada’s Barrick Gold — for blocking Tethyan from developing the asset after it had already sunk more than $220 million into the project.

Says province to get good share in upcoming proposed agreement on mining project

“As we know that we have lost the Reko Diq case in the international court. Therefore, striking a bargain is not easy, but we are trying our best to gain maximum share for Balochistan in this regard,” the chief minister said.

The share of Balochistan in the previous agreement was 25 per cent despite investment by the provincial government, Mr Bizenjo said, adding that the province would get a good share in the upcoming proposed agreement and without having to make an investment.

The chief minister said it had been proposed that the companies involved in Reko Diq project would spend Rs30 to 40 billion during three years for the development of Chagai district besides billions of rupees that would come under the head of corporate social responsibility.

Answering a question, Mr Bizenjo said his government had removed several unnecessary check-posts on highways and more would be removed soon. He also asked the commissioner to remove speed breakers and rooms made for security check-posts constructed on and alongside the main highway.

He also warned that the commissioner, deputy inspector general of police, deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and tehsildar would be suspended if a security man is found taking bribes at a check-post.

On a lack of healthcare facilities in the district headquarters hospital, he said that all district health officials were directed to purchase medicines and appoint doctors on a contract basis to facilitate the masses.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2022

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