Dar’s directive for reviving Reko Diq before Dec 15

Published November 27, 2022
A view of the Reko Diq project site in Balochistan.—File photo
A view of the Reko Diq project site in Balochistan.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday directed all relevant departments for early completion of the remaining steps to ensure the revival of the multi-billion-dollar Reko Diq project before the Dec 15 deadline.

The apex committee on the Reko Diq project chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reviewed the progress on the implementation of agreed steps so far for the completion of the Reko Diq arrangement as agreed.

An official announcement said Mr Dar highlighted the importance of early completion of the remaining steps under the agreed arrangement and stressed to all concerned to ensure that the deadline of Dec 15 is successfully met and the project revived soonest after the settlement.

Earlier, the committee, headed by the finance minister and Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd shareholders, had agreed to a framework for the settlement and revival of the Reko Diq project in March.

President Dr Arif Alvi in October accorded his approval to a summary for the filing of reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan under Article 186 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 in the Reko Diq project on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The meeting was informed that after the advice of the Supreme Court on the reference already filed is received, necessary legislative steps would be taken for which the relevant provinces concerned are fully on board.

The provincial governments have also assured to complete all the codal formalities within the due date.

The meeting was of the view that successful completion of the agreed arrangement by the deadline would add to the confidence of the international investors. The revival of the Reko Diq project would give a fillip to the economy by boosting investment sentiments and will increase employment opportunities in the country, added the announcement.

Barrick Gold Corporation ended a long-running dispute with Pakistan earlier this year and would now start to develop one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mining projects. The project was suspended in 2011 after Pakistan denied Barrick Gold and Chile’s Antofagasta a licence to develop it.

The initially proposed estimates show the Reko Diq project will be built in two phases at an initial estimated capital cost of approximately $7 billion and is expected to go into production between the years 2027-28. The project is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world and will be owned 50pc by Barrick, 25pc by Balochistan province and 25pc by the federal government.

The federal government’s share of 25pc will be divided equally among three state-owned entities — the Oil and Gas Development Corporation Ltd, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, and Government Holdings Pakistan Ltd.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022

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