The Nation | 6 August 2019
Reko Diq controversy
by MALIK TARIQ
The Reko Diq mining issue has been grossly mishandled from its very inception, from its taking up by Supreme Court and gross administrative to bureaucratic mismanagement of letting it go to ICSID. Pakistan, already facing a financial crisis, has been slapped with compensation penalty of $6 Billion. What more will it take to realize that we live in a world where specialists in the relevant field must be involved in decision making.
Most of the problems, whether economic crisis or threats of terrorism, extremism and political instability that threaten our national interest, are the result of our own mishandlings. Decision making was in the hands of men who neither had qualification nor constitutional or moral authority to make them. Coming back to Reko Diq issue, the Caretaker Government of PM Moin Ahmed Qureshi and his CM Balochistan, signed exploration contract in July 1993 with BHP Minerals. In June 2000 the government in power signed a joint venture with Pakistan getting 25% and BHP getting bulk 75%. It was in violation of the internationally established practice of sharing half revenues. Australia’s Tethyan Copper Company had a joint venture with Canada’s Barrick Gold and Chile’s Antofagasta PIC for an exploration contract for copper Mining in Reko Diq . It is a normal international mining industry practice that only after the value of minerals has been established through exploration is an agreement negotiated for distribution of assets mined over a period of time. The country where mine is located normally would never settle for less than 50% share and international mineral companies would not hesitate to invest Billions of Dollars to earn revenue worth several times more than their investment.