In a major development, the Supreme Court (SC) has declared the government’s agreement with the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation for the development of the Reko Diq mine in Balochistan legal.
According to the details, the verdict was announced by a five-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial who announced the 13-page verdict today.
“As per the Riko Diq agreement, most workers will be Pakistanis. This is not for a single person but for Pakistan. There is nothing illegal in this agreement,” said the court.
It added that the agreement was not against the 2013 verdict given by the top court. The SC also shared that the agreement was not against the environment.
The US $9 billion deal is the biggest-ever investment in Pakistan’s history. The country is going to get 50 percent profit of the total project by investing accordingly. Out of Pakistan’s 50 percent share, there are further classifications.
Due to the timely decision by the Supreme Court, Pakistan will meet the December 15th deadline and avoid a $5.9 billion penalty.
Reacting to the news, former Energy Minister Hammad Azhar lauded the country’s petroleum division.
“I’m glad that Reko Diq settlement has been granted stamp pf approval by Supreme Court. The companies falling under the petroleum division in March 2022 played a key role in arranging to finance for the settlement and becoming stakeholders in the project. We used to get things done under the PTI government,” Hammad Azhar said.
Im glad that Riko Diqq settlement has been granted stamp of approval by SC. The companies falling under petroleum division in March 2022 played a key role in arranging financing for the settlement & becoming stakeholders in the project.
We used to get things done under PTI govt!
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) December 9, 2022
Reko Diq agreement
To clarify, Reko Diq is an area in Balochistan famous for natural resource deposits such as copper and gold. Thus, the Reko Diq Mining Project was to build and operate a world-class copper-gold open-pit mine at a cost of about $3.3bn.
In March of this year, Imran Khan, who was the prime minister at the time, announced the successful agreement with the Canadian firm for the development of the Reko Diq mine in Balochistan, saying it will create 8,000 new jobs for the people.
In a separate statement, Barrick Gold Corporation confirmed that they have reached an agreement with the federal and Balochistan governments on a “framework that provides for the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project”.
Later, the then finance minister Shaukat Tarin shared details of the agreement and said that Barrick Gold would retain 50% of the shares. While the rest of the shares will be divided between the federal government and the provincial government of Balochistan.