Construction has been projected to cost some $3.3 billion, but that is expected to climb given rising costs faced by the mining industry, particularly in remote locations like Balochistan.– Reuters File Photo

LONDON: Pakistan's Balochistan province has rejected a mining lease application from Chilean copper producer Antofagasta and Canada's Barrick Gold, raising questions over the future of their Reko Diq copper-gold project.

The two miners' joint venture, Tethyan Copper, said last month it had filed a “notice of dispute” with the province over Reko Diq, after Balochistan government officials refused to meet the company's executives or extend a deadline for a response to objections raised over the lease.

The mining lease application, for an area including the Reko Diq deposit, was submitted in February.

“Tethyan strongly believes that the Reko Diq project can contribute significantly to the development of a modern mining industry in Balochistan and will consider its options for further courses of action,” Antofagasta said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reko Diq - only the second significant project in the mineral-rich region and potentially a source of much needed inward investment for Pakistan - holds an estimated 5.9 billion tonnes of mineral resources, with an average copper grade of 0.41 per cent and an average gold grade of 0.22 grams a tonne.

The joint venture partners spent $200 million in 2006 buying the exploration licence from rival BHP Billiton.

Construction has been projected to cost some $3.3 billion, but that is expected to climb given rising costs faced by the mining industry, particularly in remote locations like Balochistan.

Opinion

For whom the clock ticks
Updated 22 Apr 2021

For whom the clock ticks

Tarin will have to succeed in order to cement his position within the cabinet.
Ending the ‘forever war’
Updated 21 Apr 2021

Ending the ‘forever war’

Regardless of who the adversary was at any point, two generations of Afghans have known only war.

Editorial

22 Apr 2021

Capping power debt

THE suggested revision in the Circular Debt Management Plan, which aims to cap the flow or addition of new debt to...
22 Apr 2021

Istanbul postponement

WHILE the postponement of the Istanbul peace talks on Afghanistan, which were scheduled to be held later this week,...
22 Apr 2021

No mining precautions

YET another accident caused by a methane gas explosion has been reported from the dangerous coal mines of...
More mishandling
Updated 21 Apr 2021

More mishandling

By its bad decision-making and weak management, the govt has allowed the TLP to garner more importance and heft than it deserves.
21 Apr 2021

Declining FDI

THE sharp decline in FDI in recent months is worrisome. New State Bank data shows that FDI has plummeted by a hefty...
21 Apr 2021

The digital divide

IN the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Inclusive Internet Index report, measuring internet inclusion in terms...