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Gold, Copper and Rare Earths at Pakistan's Reko Diq Could Exceed $500 Billion


The sale of Reko Diq mining rights is currently being reviewed by Pakistan Supreme Court in response to allegations of lack of transprarency. The entire discussion in the courtroom is primarily centered on valuations and estimates of traditional metals like gold and copper. The second topic of discussion in the apex court is about the absence of any contract provisions for development of downstream job-creating industries to extract these metals.

What is conspicuously absent from the debate is the potential for extraction at Reqo Diq of rare earth elements that are even more precious and in much greater and growing demand for the latest high-tech equipment and batteries for all-electric autos, communications, and other applications than traditional precious metals like gold and silver. It is the estimates of these rare earths at Reqo Diq that could put the value of the contract at considerably more than the current best estimates of $500 billion for copper and gold.

Recent trade disputes between China and its major trading partners in the United States, Europe and Japan have been the result of China restricting rare earth exports.

A current production Toyota Prius nickel metal hydride battery pack uses 30 kilograms of nickel, 2 kilograms of cobalt and 12 kilograms of lanthanum because the active hydrogen storage alloy in the battery is either LaNi4.5Co0.5 or (Ce, La, Nd, Pr)Ni5. The Prius assembly plant in Japan has so far used one and 1.5 million rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs and achieved with them some of the lowest numbers of service issues ever seen in the OEM automotive industry. In fact most of the original Prius rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs have exceeded their 8-year 100,000 mile warranty and are still functioning, according to Resource Investor website.



China controls 95% of the world’s supply of rare earth elements, a class of ores used not just in Toyota Prius electric motors and batteries but in a wide range of high-technology applications, from sonar systems to wind turbines, mobile phones and fluorescent lights.

All this gives China an extraordinary - some might say unfair - advantage to lead the race to dominate the manufacture of cutting-edge technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. Even before any major technology partnership announcements, there are reports that the legendary US investor Warren Buffet is investing in BYD, an obscure Chinese battery, mobile phone, and electric car company.

Here is how an expert who asked not to be named explained the mining potential in Balochistan:

"The Pegmatite rock that covers much of Balochistan (and other parts of Pakistan as well) has several different gems, in it which have been mined for a long time. These are easy to visualize as they differ in color from the rest of the rock, and can be removed with a small geologist's hammer. Pegmatite, though, also contains uranium which can be separated using a Geiger Counter, and rare metals and rare earths. Some of these like Lithium can be separated relatively easily. Others like Samarium and Dysprosium are vastly more difficult to separate because you need X-Ray equipment to help identify them. Also, their presence is very small - that is why they are classed as "rare." The presence of many of these metals was not known to science until recently and until the Japanese began to use them in electronics, hardly any effort was made to mine them. Now, of course, they are all the rage because they have been found especially useful in the latest "green" generation equipment as well as in defense and other applications. Indeed, until China banned their sale to Japan, no one really even bothered about them - it suited the Japanese to remain quiet as they were getting very good prices for these resources from an unaware Chinese, and the same thing is now happening in other parts of the world, in Pakistan in this case.

Much of the testing that is involved here is difficult and requires very advanced technical equipment, and even methods like gas spectrometry etc may not help identify materials that exist in extremely small percentages in soil or rock. In India for example, some of these metal reserves were not known until the USGS first and then the Russians helped analyze soil and rocks across the country. If nothing else, the Indians formed a government owned company called Indian Rare earths Limited which comes under the Atomic Energy Commission and is directly under the Prime Minister of India. They do seem to have handled the conservation and exploitation of these reserves far better than is being done in Pakistan."


Given the potential for tremendous mineral wealth at Reqo Diq, Saindak and other similar sites in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan, it is extremely important for the Supreme Court to insist on an independent panel of experts to evaluate it, and to base court orders on the findings of such panel. How the Supreme Court tackles these issues now will have a significant impact on the future well-being of Pakistan in terms of the availablity of public funds for spending on education, health care and other badly needed human development projects in Balochistan and elsewhere in the country.

 

Click here for a video clip from GeoTV on Reko Diq.

 
Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Mineral Wealth

China's Electric Ambitions

Buffet Investing in Chinese Battery Maker

Remote Sensing Oil and Gas Fields in Pakistan

Pakistan's Mineral Yearbook 2005

US, NATO Fighting to Stalemate in Afghanistan

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Abundant, Cheap Coal Electricity in Pakistan

Car Battery Battle Between Li-on and Nickel Metal Hydride

Auto Industry Prospects in India, Pakistan and China

 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2012 at 5:04pm

Here's PakTribune on British High Commissioner's comments on the impact of Reko Diq on foreign investmemt:

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson has said that the verdict in international arbitration on the Reko Diq saga may have chilling affects on foreign investors.

“Supreme Court of Pakistan's verdict in certain cases whether it relates to Reko Diq or others is a sign of discouragement for foreign investors,” Adam Thomson said while talking to selected journalists on Wednesday night.

Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) filed for international arbitration to protect its legal rights after Balochistan rejected its mining lease application. Tethyan Copper – a joint venture between Chilean copper producer Antofagasta and Canada's Barrick Gold – owns the massive Reko Diq project in Balochistan with reserves estimated at 2.2 billion tons of gold and copper.

“There is a risk of misconception from some of its decisions and Reqo Diq is the latest one,” He said that Pakistan should think carefully about it.

Responding to questions about litigation between government of Pakistan and international companies, the British High Commissioner said that a strong judicial system will not only uphold Pakistan's interest but was extremely important to foreign companies.

He said that Pakistan and the United Kingdom signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in 1994 providing protection to companies in both countries. Pakistan is attracting British companies after promulgation of this agreement, he added.

He said that the 10% increase in trade compared to the previous year was not bad keeping in mind the global recession.

“UK-based exploration company Premier Oil has been working in the oil and gas sector of Pakistan for the last 10 years,” he said adding that there are more such companies.

He said that British companies are doing very well in Pakistan which reflected from their profits. “These companies also face challenges with regulatory bodies being the biggest challenge,” he said. Although, he said, Pakistan in South Asia is comparatively a good place to do business, corruption is also a problem as few companies find it difficult to work in certain sectors.

UK has very stringent Anti-Bribery Act which governs UK companies in Pakistan so that they would stay clean. “Some changes in reorganisation in government, ministries, regulatory bodies after the 18th Constitutional Amendment are also challenging to those British companies considering to invest in Pakistan,” he said adding that perception of insecurity is very high among them. “When I'm in UK, I try hard to overcome such impressions,” he added.

“India is second largest investor foreign manufacture holder in UK,” he said adding that all Pakistani companies should also see UK as a gateway to European Union. “We are the second largest investor in Pakistan and aim to become the largest,” he concluded.

http://paktribune.com/business/news/Pakistan-should-think-about-Rek...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 18, 2012 at 11:42am

Here's Daily Times on Reko Diq:

Reko Diq mining is once again topping the country’s legal discourse. At stake is one of the world’s largest gold and copper reserves worth tens of billions of dollars.
---
It all started in the early nineties when BHP – a global mining giant — identified the mineral potential of Chaghai’s Tethyan belt in western Balochistan. This was inferred from the 1956-58 basic geophysical reports of the American Geological Survey complemented by satellite imagery of the earth’s crust over 13,000 square kilometres of Chaghai.

Having done the basic homework and waiting for the right opportunity, BHP signed the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement ( CHEJVA) with the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) when the caretaker government of Sardar Nasir Mengal took charge in July 1993 and World Bank executive Moeen Qureshi was Pakistan’s interim prime minister.

It was morally and politically incorrect for both the caretaker government and a global corporation like BHP to sign off Balochistan’s largest sub-surface asset to a single party without proper international bidding and through the BDA and not Balochistan’s Ministry of Minerals. At stake was over $ 500 billion worth of copper and gold extractable over the next century.

The reserves are shallow, only 21 metres deep and ideal for an open pit going down till 1,000 metres.

CHEJVA was in favour of BHP, Australia 75 percent to BDA’s 25 percent on a joint investment basis. Only 2 percent royalty was stipulated for the government of Balochistan against exploration rights over 3.3 million acres for a period of 56 years.

In comparison, the Afghan government gave a similar licence of gold mining at 26 percent plain royalty for 10 years at their Qara Zaghan Gold Project in 2011.

“Its not simple corruption but more a case of culpable national incompetence,” boils Raza Kazim.

---

Over the next three years and as a result of basic shallow drilling samples, around 14 potential areas were identified by BHP, including the goldmine Reko Diq. The Balochistan government awarded 10 prospecting licences to BHP out of these. Then in 2000, BHP relinquished all those licences except one, i.e. PL-4, and this was then amalgamated with PL-14, i.e. Reko Diq.
---------
According to TCC’s feasibility, an ore extraction of some six billion tonnes is projected over the next five years with an output of 200,000 tonnes of extracted copper and around 250,000 ounces of gold every year. This capacity could double if needed.

The processing copper concentrate facility at Reko Diq will process 120,000 tonnes of copper ore every day.

Reko Diq project, which took over 20 years to reach this feasibility and national and international litigation levels is the second major copper/gold project of Balochistan, the first being Saindak.

In the Saindak project, the federal government spent over $ 200 million to develop a mine and processing facility for concentrate copper ore in the early nineties when Reko Diq just got started. Having worked and apparently failed at the project, the federal government handed the whole project to MCC China at only $ half a million per annum fee in 2001.

The Chinese have been extracting copper ore and shipping its concentrate to China over the last 12 years and giving the federal government around $ 60 million per annum as share of its 50 percent profits. The remaining 50 percent stays with the Chinese.

The government’s attitude towards strategic national assets can be gauged from the fact that the federal government has less than 10 employees to look after the whole of Saindak Copper Project in the Ministry of Petroleum while it employs over 90,000 persons for Pakistan Railways for the same amount of revenue.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\17\story_17-12-2012_pg7_16

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 29, 2012 at 10:51am

Here's BR on PPL introducing new petroleum exploration technology in Pakistan:

A PPL statement here on Saturday said that developed by NXT Energy Solutions (NXT), a geophysical service company based in Canada, SFD (Stress Field Detection) is a proprietary cutting edge, eco-friendly airborne reconnaissance method to identify potential hydrocarbon traps and reservoirs in a time- and cost-effective manner, especially in unexplored on- and off-shore frontier regions with limited access and infrastructure.

It said that the SFD is expected to be particularly useful in the current energy scenario, warranting fast track identification of, and production from, relatively deeper, more complex reserves of hydrocarbons to bridge the supply-demand gap.

Welcoming the guests, PPL's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Asim Murtaza Khan, underscored the increasing importance of deploying latest exploration technology to meet production and reserves replacement targets to address the current deficit and ensure future energy security. SFD technology has been successfully applied by leading oil and gas companies in North America, Colombia and other countries. PPL is proud to be the first company to apply the technology in Pakistan', he said.

http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/108-pakistan-top-news/98349-ppl-i...

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 7, 2013 at 8:33am

Pakistan Supreme Court has voided Reko Diq lease with Tethyan, reports Globe & Mail:

Pakistan’s top court on Monday declared invalid a lease for one of the world’s richest deposits of gold and copper held by a Canadian-Chilean consortium that includes Vancouver-based giant Barrick Gold Corp.

Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, and Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals, each own a 37.5-per-cent share, as the Tethyan Copper Company, in the largest Foreign Direct Investment mining project in Pakistan.

Their plan was to build and operate a copper and gold open-pit mine at Reko Diq in the Chagai district of the southwestern province Baluchistan, the most deprived part of Pakistan, rife with Taliban, sectarian and separatist violence.

Barrick and Antofagasta say the proposed plant could produce 600,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year, but in 2011 work came to a standstill after the local government refused to renew the consortium’s mining lease.

The provincial government in Baluchistan is also the sleeping partner in the Reko Diq project with a 25-per-cent stake.

Reasons for the dispute are murky, but some analysts suggest that China, a close Pakistan ally, is also interested in the deposits.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday declared “not valid” the initial 1993 exploration agreement between the Baluchistan government and Australian mining group BHP, since BHP Billiton Ltd.

It said the agreement ran counter to Pakistan’s mineral development act and mining concession rules, and therefore to transfer it to the Canadian-Chilean consortium is also “illegal, void and non est”.

Experts say mining in Baluchistan is dominated by small companies focused primarily on marble and granite, which waste up to 80 per cent of mined minerals because of poor blasting techniques.

They also call for more transparent polices to allow business to flourish

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/ene...

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 7, 2013 at 2:24pm

Here's WSJ on Reko Diq lease cancellation:

TORONTO—Pakistan's top court has declared invalid a lease that would allow a consortium that includes industry giant Barrick Gold Corp. ABX.T -1.67% to mine one of the world's richest deposits of copper and gold, a person familiar with the matter said.

Pakistan's Supreme Court made the ruling on Monday, the person said. The move adds further uncertainty to a project that has been beset by local squabbles.

The Reko Diq project is being run by Tethyan Copper Co., in which Toronto-based Barrick Gold and Chilean copper giant Antofagasta Minerals ANTO.LN -1.56% each own a 37.5% share. The remaining 25% is owned by the government of Baluchistan, the region of Pakistan where the mine is to be based.

The proposed plant could produce 600,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year, according to industry estimates.

Last year, Tethyan filed arbitration proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the local Baluchistan government after officials refused to grant a mining lease to develop the $3.3 billion project.

Tethyan has already invested more than $220 million since 2006 in the project and completed a feasibility study to develop it. The project is slated to become the country's largest single foreign direct investment if it goes ahead.

Given the early-stage nature of the project, Barrick doesn't include Tethyan in statements of its reserves.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323482504578227692948...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 13, 2013 at 10:15am

Here's a BR report on jewellery business in Pakistan:

KARACHI: The global demand of gold is more than 2500 tonnes and Pakistan's consumption is more than 100 tonnes which makes Pakistan world's 10th largest market.

Gold is usually imported from Gulf States and Western countries.

In gems sector, Pakistan is full of natural resources. Unmatched quality of ruby, emerald, topaz, aqua marine, fluorite and lais-Iazuli are mined from the valleys of Gilgit, Hunza, Swat, Azad Kashmir and Chitral.

This was stated by President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Zubair Ahmed Malik while inaugurating three-day International Gems and Jewellery Exhibition at a hotel here on Friday.

This international exhibition has been jointly organised by Jewel Time magazine and All Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Merchants Association (APGJMA) in collaboration with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Vice Chairman of APGJMA Kashif-ur-Rehman said that more than 50 companies have participated in the exhibition. The products of stone, diamond, gold and silver jewellery are show-cased. A large number of people visited the venue.

FPCCI President said that due to unavailability of gem cutting and polishing facilities, gems are exported in a raw form which brings nothing as compared to its real worth.

Pakistan has been gifted with abundant resources of several precious and semi-precious gemstones. At present, most of these are found in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan has a huge potential which remains to be explored.

Most important of the currently found stones are emeralds of Mingora (Swat), pink and golden topaz of Katlang (Mardan) and aquamarine of Chitral and Neelam valleys, he said.

There is no formal survey available to identify the geological resources of gemstones in the country. Due to lack of realisation of its importance as an industry, those who are engaged in the mining, cutting/ polishing and trading of gemstones in Pakistan have not been able to exploit the full potential of this sector.

Malik said Lahore has become the second largest jewellery production hub of Pakistan after Karachi. More than 25,000 business enterprises related to gems and jewellery are operating in Punjab and providing employment to more than 20,0000 individuals.

It is estimated that $1.5 billion jewellery target set up for 2017 by Pakistan is achievable provided the entrepreneurs are encouraged, a supportive infrastructure is developed, latest mining and cutting, gems and jewellery manufacturing techniques are introduced at the grassroots level.

Exports of gems and jewellery in the country has witnessed a sharp increase of 16.99 percent and 138.73 percent respectively during first eight months of current financial year against the same period of last year.

The jewellery exports during the period under review were recorded at $1.21 billion while during last year, the exports stood at $506.3 million.

http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/business-a-economy/114948-pakista...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 13, 2013 at 10:20am

Here's an Economic Times report on India gold demand:

MUMBAI: The country's gold demand dipped by 12 per cent in 2012 to 864.2 tonne, mainly on account of higher import duties, jewellers strike over proposed measures to curb imports and a sharp rise in the domestic price, World Gold Council said in its recent report.

The overall demand of gold in the country had stood at 986.3 tonne in 2011, according to the WGC Gold Demand Trend 2012 report released today.

"China and India remain the world's gold power houses. In India, consumer sentiment towards gold remained strong despite measures aimed at curbing demand, reaffirming gold's role in Indian society.

In an underdeveloped financial system like India, gold has an important role to play," WGC Managing Director, Investment, Marcus Grubb said.

In 2013, WGC expects the demand to be in the 865-965 tonne range, an 11 per cent increase at the upper end, depending on any further government measures, he said.

India is likely to remain the biggest market for gold this year followed by China, he said.

In the first half of 2012, consumers faced headwinds in the form of higher import duties, market turmoil over proposed measures to curb imports and a sharp rise in the local price.

However, the demand staged a strong revival in the second half of the year as the market thrived during the fourth quarter wedding season and festive period.

Total jewellery demand in the country in 2012 was down by 11 per cent to 552 tonne, compared to 618.3 tonne in 2011.

However, the demand in terms of jewellery value rose by 8 per cent to Rs 1,l58,090 crore, compared to Rs 1,46,067.8 crore in 2011.

Total investment demand was down by 15 per cent to 312.2 tonnes, against 368 tonnes in 2011.

In value terms, gold investment demand went up by a marginal 3 per cent to Rs 89,412 crore compared to Rs 86,936.7 crore in 2011.

"Despite the turbulent macroeconomic climate throughout the year, as well as the regional uncertainties affecting India and China, the two largest gold markets, annual demand was 30 per cent higher than the average for the past decade," Grubb added.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-02-14/news/371003...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 26, 2013 at 9:59pm

Here's a National Geographic piece on Reko Diq:

During a recent research visit to Chile, I had a rare opportunity to meet, Fernando Crisosto, a social engagement officer who had worked with Antofagasta Minerals and visited Pakistan several times when the project still had some potential for development through joint foreign engagement. Fernando was very nostalgic about the time he spent on the Reko Diq site and showed tremendous affection for the people of Balochistan and of Pakistan. Unfortunately due to mismanagement at various tiers of government, errant data being communicated, and the rise of resource nationalism, the project is now stuck in the courts and international arbitration mechanisms. No doubt the distrust was also exacerbated by badly sourcing the feasibility study of the project by a Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin which was subsequently been ”blacklisted” by the World Bank. Fernando indicated to me that even though their plans for social development were far more detailed than the neighbouring Saindak mine which is operated by a Chinese government partnership, there was a deficiency of community engagement and communicating those plans effectively to tribal leaders.

Nevertheless, Baloch or Pakistani nationalists alike should first of all be very cautious about believing random data points and value of the reserve at Reko Diq which are asserted in media appearances by said “experts.” The geologic reality of the Reko Diq deposit is that it is essentially a low-grade copper-gold porphyry which clearly has much potential but is by no means “Solomon’s fortune” as it is sometimes made out to be. Utterly absurd and unsubstantiated numbers for the value of gold and copper reserves in Afghanistan and Pakistan are wantonly paraded in prominent media venues in both countries. For example one news story in Pakistan’s most widely circulating English daily this year asserted that the value of the mineral wealth in Reko Diq was in excess of $3 trillion. This number has absolutely no empirical or even remotely rational basis. Indeed the estimated value by the World Gold Council at current prices of all the gold ever mined in the history of the planet is around $8.8 trillion. It would be delusional to think that a low-grade deposit in Balochistan has more than 1/3 the value of the gold ever mined in the history of the Earth!

Pakistan’s media should consult more deliberately with international geological experts who do not have any particular vested interest in the development of the project rather than interviewing hyper-nationalist geologists that have limited substantiation of facts and grossly exaggerate value of the reserve as well as Pakistani technical expertise to extract the resource. In particular the research of Pakistani-Canadian mining academic Professor Laeeque K Daneshmend deserves greater appreciation and engagement to counter the unsubstantiated data being branded about in the media.

Yet conspiracy theorists continue to churn out estimates which have no basis in reality and are misleading the Baloch and Pakistani public. Further misinformation about the Chilean company that invested in this project has also been spread by some of these negative elements. For example in my last visit to Pakistan I heard baseless rumours that the Reko Diq mining concessions was now owned by “Zionist” family interests. Regardless of whether or not such ownership should even be a concern in commercial contracts, it is patently not true. Antofagasta Minerals is owned by the Luksic family of Chile that has Croatian origin. The founder of the company and family patriarch Andronico Luksic (died in 2005) had a Croatian father and a Bolivian mother and absolutely no connection to any ethno-religious causes.

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/25/chile-and-pakist...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 6, 2014 at 10:16pm

Uncertainty surrounds the future of a world-class gold mine in Pakistan due to poor handling of the project by regional authorities.

Reko Diq is a copper and gold mine in Chagai district of Balochistan province with a value up to $500bn. It holds about 5.9 billion tonnes of ore, making it the world’s fifth largest deposit of gold and copper.

But the huge project has ground to a halt over a dispute between the provincial government and the miners.

Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) – a joint venture of Barrick Gold of Canada and Antofagasta of Chile – had been awarded a licence for exploration in the Reko Diq area in 2006. In 2011, TCC’s application for a mining lease for the project was rejected by the Balochistan government of then-chief minister Aslam Raisani, which decided to run the project on its own.

TCC took the case to the international arbitration court claiming damages because it had invested more than $500 million in exploration and feasibility studies.

“There is potential … for multiple mine developments over the next few decades. By refusing a mining licence without good grounds, it’s sending quite a negative signal to the exploration/mining community,” said Tim Livesey, the chief executive of TCC, in 2012.

The rejection of a mining licence to the company after an exploration permit had been granted was an unusual decision by the government. Mr Raisani abruptly closed off communication with the company and even refused to meet its executives.

Mr Raisani rejected the TCC bid in the name of protecting the legitimate interest of Balochistan, but did his decision really help the least developed province and its people?
------
Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) came with a counter proposal for a mining lease for Reko Diq and offered Balochistan a larger share in income and royalty.

In 2002, MCC had acquired a lease the Saindak copper and gold project in the same district as Chagai, which expired in 2012. If the Raisani government was serious in its desire to develop deposits using local firms, why did it not oppose the five-year extension in the lease period of the Saindak project?

The Reko Diq project became controversial after news stories alleged that the Reko Diq gold mines were being secretly sold to foreign firms for peanuts.

The dispute between TCC and Balochistan began after the resignation of Mr Musharraf in 2008. Under his administration, TCC was awarded the project with mining rights and it signed a joint-venture agreement with Balochistan holding 25 per cent interest in the project. But in December 2009, Balochistan said it was cancelling the TCC deal.

That triggered a blame game, with each side accusing the other of violating mineral rules. In January 2013, former chief justice of the supreme court Iftikhar Chaudhry declared the Reko Diq contract between the Balochistan and TCC void.

-----
Arbitration proceedings have further delayed the mine’s development, which has not been worked since 1993 when BHP Billiton signed a deal with Balochistan. While BHP had an exploration deal, it did no practical work and sold its 75 per cent interest to TCC in 2000. In 2006, TCC was taken over by Antofagasta and Barrick Gold.

TCC deserves credit for the discovery of the huge Reko Diq deposits. The company was willing to make an investment of $5bn over five years. It could have been the biggest foreign-financed project in the country’s history. But the short-sighted policy of the government meant this potential game changer never got off the ground.

What has been the outcome of the dispute so far? The country has missed a huge foreign investment. It has closed the door on technology transfer in mining into Pakistan and discouraged foreign firms eyeing up its mineral deposits.


http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/pakistans-500bn-gold-min...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 11, 2015 at 1:49pm

Pakistan discovers 'huge' reserves of iron ore

Pakistan on Wednesday said it has discovered major reserves of iron ore as well as copper, silver and gold in its central province of Punjab.

The reserves were found in Chiniot, around 160 kilometres northwest of Lahore, by Chinese group the Metallurgical Cooperation of China.

A senior provincial administrative official told AFP that initial estimates indicated 500 million tonnes of iron ore, a primary ingredient in steelmaking, had been discovered.

He said the Chinese company has expressed interest in setting up a steel mill on the site, adding that the extracted iron had been tested in Swiss and Canadian laboratories, which found 60-65 per cent of it to be high grade.

The official added that silver, copper and gold samples would also be sent for testing soon.

Speaking at the site on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the discovery could help Pakistan's stuttering economy turn a corner and end its “begging bowl” culture.

“It is Allah's blessing that under the lush green fields rich deposits of copper, iron and gold have been found, which will help the country get rid of the 'begging bowl' for good,” Nawaz said.

Conflict, instability, corruption and a chronic energy shortage have hampered Pakistan's economy for years. The IMF granted a $6.6-billion loan to Pakistan in September 2013 on the condition that it carry out extensive economic reforms, particularly in the energy and taxation sectors.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1162943

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