ISLAMABAD: CM Balochistan has said on Sunday said the Reko Diq project will connect Balochistan with the world and generate employment opportunities for the local masses.
Speaking at a press conference here, he said the agreement and settlement regarding the Reko Diq project would protect the resources of the province and interests of the local people.
He said, “Balochistan is no longer to be a place for insurgency rather it will be a field of investment, construction and development”.
Reko Diq project would bring an end to the prevailing sense of deprivation and backwardness of Balochistan, he said, adding, “It would be a game-changer initiative”.
The ten-year delay in the decision regarding the multi billion-dollar copper and gold project of Reko Diq caused damage to the investors and future generation.
The job of the leadership was to make decisions and he had played his role for ensuring prosperous future of the people, he said, adding, “Awarding the 25 percent direct shares to Balochistan without any investment in the project is an historical achievement”.
As per the new agreement, Barrick Gold would retain 50 percent share, while government of Balochistan would get 25 percent share, and the rest 25 percent share would be attributed to the State Owned Enterprises Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), and Government Holdings Pakistan (GHPL).
Barrick Gold Corporation (“Barrick”) and the Governments of Pakistan and Balochistan have reached an agreement in principle on a framework that provides for the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project.
The Project was suspended in 2011 due to a dispute over the legality of its licensing process.
Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Sunday said Governments of Pakistan and Balochistan, Antofagasta plc, and Barrick Gold Corporation had reached agreement in principle on a framework to reconstitute the Reko Diq project, and a pathway for Antofagasta to exit the project.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference flanked with the Federal Minister for Power and Energy Hammad Azhar and Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo here, the minister said after the new development, Pakistan would not only avoid the US $ 11 billion penalty but also get an opportunity of exploring the world’s largest gold and copper reserve.
He said some US $ 10 billion would be invested under the project which would create 8000 new jobs for locals.
The minister said as per the new agreement, Barric Gold would retain 50 percent share, while government of Balochistan would get 25 percent share, and the rest 25 percent share would be attributed to the State Owned Enterprises Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), and Government Holdings Pakistan (GHPL).
Tarin said an agreement was signed in 2006 among a Canadian Company Barrick Gold, a Chilean company Antofagasta plc, and the governments of Balochistan to extract gold and copper from the Reko Diq minses reserve.
As per the old agreement, 37.5 percent share each was given to the two foreign companies and 25 percent share to given to the Government of Balochistan.
The agreement was suspended in 2011 due to a dispute over the legality of its licensing process.
As a result the International Court of Arbitration leveled US $ 6.4 billion award on government of Pakistan while on the same time the London Court of Arbitration also imposed another US $ 4 billion fine on Pakistan.
He said soon after taking over the charge, Prime Minister Imran Khan aggressively pursued the case and directed to draw a suitable solution as early as possible.
As a result an agreement was settled today under which Antofagasta decided not to participate in the reconstituted project and withdrew from its claim of US $ 3.9 billion in place of US $ 900 million.
He informed that the US $ 900 million would be paid by the three SOEs and in return they would get the 25 percent share of the project.
Had the PM not taken his personal interest in the case, Pakistan would have to pay the huge amount of US $ 11 billion as a penalty, he added.
Shaukat Tarin said Pakistan and Balochistan would be benefited for over 100 years from this project and the total worth was estimated to be over US $ 100 billion.
Terming the new agreement as a land mark achievement for Pakistan, Hammad Azhar said it was a historic day as it had not only avoided US $ 11 billion worth of penalty but also created a new opportunity for Pakistan.
He said this was not for first time that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government had achieved the landmark success, but it had also avoided the country from moving to Financial Action Task Force black list by implementing 32 out of 35 conditions.
The government also saved billions of dollars by renegotiating the costly Independent Power Producers agreements.
The minister informed that according to the Barrick Gold, Reko Diq was the only one part with such huge gold and copper reserves. There were also other reserves in the area.
So a lucrative mining cluster was going to be developed in Pakistan, he added.
PS: Reko Diq is one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the world, capable of producing 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year for more than half a century. The project was suspended in 2011 as Pakistan denied Barrick and Antofagasta Plc a license to develop Reko Diq, leading to a dispute.
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