News Desk |
After winning a legal battle against Pakistan at an international arbitration tribunal, the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) has said that it was willing to discuss the potential for a negotiated settlement with Pakistan over an almost $6 billion damages case.
The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has awarded about $5.9bn in damages to TCC in arbitration claims it filed against Pakistan following the denial of a mining lease for the Reko Diq project in Pakistan in 2011.
“We are pleased to reach this milestone after more than seven years of arbitration,” Ivan Arriagada, Antofagasta plc’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The World Bank’s international arbitration tribunal committee awarded $6 billion in damages to TCC because of the government’s decision to shut down the mine.
“We remain willing to discuss the potential for a negotiated settlement with Pakistan and will continue to protect our commercial interests and legal rights until the conclusion of this dispute,” said William Hayes, TCC’s chairman.
Pakistan’s Response on TCC Statement
The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Office has issued PM Khan’s statement on Sunday, making it the first official response to the $5.976 billion penalty imposed on Pakistan by the ICSID.
“The government takes note of the press release dated July 12, 2019 made by Antofagasta Plc, one of the parent companies of TCC, and of the statement by William Hayes, the chairman of the Board of Directors of TCC, in which he expressed a willingness to work towards a negotiated settlement. The government welcomes this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works for both sides,” the AGP Office statement read.
Reiterating Islamabad’s commitment to its international obligations, the statement said, “Pakistan welcomes all foreign investors and assures them that their lawful rights, interests and assets shall always be protected.
“The mineral resources in Reko Diq are the collective resource of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan. Pakistan is keen for development of this resource to ensure that the development needs of some of the poorest people on the planet are addressed.
“International tribunals are also urged to consider the implications of their decisions and the impact on development and poverty alleviation,” it added.
Reko Diq Project Attracted Largest Foreign Investment in Pakistan
The TCC — of which Canadian gold firm Barrick and Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals control 37.5 percent each — is the largest foreign direct investment mining project in the country. The provincial government is also a sleeping partner in the Reko Diq project with a 25 percent stake.
Barrick and Antofagasta say the proposed plant in Chagai district – one of the most deprived parts of Pakistan and rife with sectarian and separatist violence – could produce 600,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year.
More than a decade ago, the group found vast gold and copper deposits at Reko Diq in Balochistan and had planned a hugely lucrative open-pit mine. But the project came to a standstill in 2011 after the local government refused to renew the consortium’s lease, and in 2013 Pakistan’s top court declared it invalid.
On Friday, the World Bank’s international arbitration tribunal committee awarded $6 billion in damages to TCC because of the government’s decision to shut down the mine.