The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the copies of Reko Diq mining lease agreement from Balochistan government to ascertain the legality of the contract between Chagi Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA), BHP, and Balochistan Development Authority (BDA).
Heading a three-judge bench, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of Reko Diq case and directed Khalid Anwar, the counsel for Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (TCCP) to conclude his arguments till Wednesday (today). The bench was hearing identical petitions filed against the federal government’s decision to lease out gold and copper mines in Reko Diq in Balochistan’s Chagai district to foreign companies.
Resuming his arguments, Anwar answered question why BHP and Balochistan government entered into a new agreement in 2000 over the Reko Diq mining lease saying original agreement was signed between Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) and BHP in 1993.
He told the court that as many as 10 licences for prospecting were issued to BHP. According to him, TCCP has spent millions of dollars on the project’s feasibility study. Anwar also told the court that his client was barred from mining Koh-e-Sultan on July5, 1999 by the provincial government and added that according to the agreement an area of 44000 sq km had to be given to TCCP to maximise its scope of discovery.
He pleaded that no proficient engineer was available in Pakistan to handle Reko Diq mining lease operation which accounts for TCCP’s huge salary bill for foreign engineers. The Advocate General, Amanullah Kanrani, contended that BHP in 2008 had submitted a feasibility report of six kilometers instead of 600 kilometers. The bench adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday (today).