President Arif Alvi files Reko Diq reference in Supreme Court for opinion

Barrick Gold will hold 50% shares; remaining shares would be divided equally between centre and province

President Arif Alvi on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has filed a reference in the Supreme Court over the Reko Diq case to seek an opinion on the settlement agreement.

The federal cabinet had approved the sending of presidential reference to the apex court over the Reko Diq matter.

Former finance minister Shoukat Tarin announced in March 2022 that an agreement had been reached for the development of Reko Diq mine with a foreign company Barrick Gold. Balochistan would get a 25 percent share according to the agreement.

Pakistan and Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) had agreed to divide shares with each side getting 50%, contrary to 25% shares for Pakistan in the previous deal.

Pakistan’s penalty was reduced in the Reko Diq case from $16 billion to $6 billion in 2019. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had awarded $4.08 billion as a penalty and $1.87 billion as an interest to Pakistan to be paid to TCC.

TCC was awarded a license for the mining of gold and copper at Reko Diq but the agreement was cancelled by the former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Reko Diq is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold mine. According to the settlement, 50% of the shares would be owned by Barrick Gold, while the remaining shares would be owned by Pakistan, divided equally between the centre and the Balochistan government.

The federal government’s share of 25% will be divided equally among three state-owned entities – the Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), and Government Holdings Pakistan Limited (GHPL).

Balochistan’s share shall be held by a company wholly-owned and controlled by the provincial government. The provincial government will not incur any expenses in the development of the mines.

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