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

Poll language
17 Apr 2021

Poll language

There is a distinction between angry rhetoric and the language of the gutter.
Exempt from accountability?
Updated 17 Apr 2021

Exempt from accountability?

PM Khan has done a disservice to Pakistan by exempting certain institutions from performance requirements.
Education disrupted
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Education disrupted

The cost of not doing anything about them in terms of learning losses and dropouts are going to be very large.

Editorial

17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...
Ban is no answer
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Ban is no answer

The ban will not dilute the narrative that fuels the party, it may even fan it.
16 Apr 2021

Slow recovery

THE pace of growth in large-scale manufacturing output continues to slow down, with LSM production contracting by...
16 Apr 2021

Ramazan profiteering

WITH the month of Ramazan underway, people have begun to feel the effects of galloping inflation even more. Prices...