Reko Diq case: Pakistan negotiates with parties

By Our Staff Reporter

Islamabad: Pakistan is actively engaged in negotiations with the parties involved in the dispute over the award of $5.97 billion to the Reko Diq country.

The government is fully aware of and defends the interests of the country, a source private to the latest developments told sources on the condition of anonymity.

The response came in response to a report released by Law 360—a website that deals with news coverage and analyses of legal issues, including litigation, case resolution, decision, policy, compliance, legislation, corporate deals, etc.

The website reported that the Australian Copper Mining Joint Venture was given the green light to try to raise 50 per cent of the huge $5.97 billion arbitrary award of July 2019 against Pakistan following a dispute over a rejected mining project, as long as it promises to refund the funds if the award is cancelled.

According to Law 360, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank released an order on 30 October, stating that Pakistan had not obtained an irrevocable bank guarantee or a letter of credit for 25 pc of the award—a condition laid down by the committee in September to hold the compliance in place.

The ICSID tribunal was seized by a dispute between Pakistan and the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), which demanded $8.5 billion for refusing the latter’s offer by the Balochistan Mining Authority for a multi-million dollar mining lease in the province in 2011.

Pakistan had previously argued before the court that the agreement/mining licence at Reko Diq had been obtained through fraudulent means and therefore the applicant (TCC) could not seek damages.

However both parties—Pakistan and TCC—had met in London in October last year and decided to remain open to a mediated out-of-court resolution of the conflict, sources said, adding that the parties were still engaged and optimistic that the matter would soon be resolved successfully.

The committee, according to Law 360, terminated the 50-per-cent stay in implementation of the $5.9 billion grant that the TCC received last year.

Pakistan had previously accepted the statement made by William Hayes, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the TCC, expressing his commitment to work towards a negotiated settlement.

Mr Hayes claimed in his statement that the company remains willing to explore the prospects for a negotiated settlement with Pakistan and would continue to safeguard its corporate interests and legal rights until the end of this conflict.

Pakistan then held the view that it had considered Antofogasta Plc’s press release of 12 July 2019 and William Hayes’ comment.

“The Government of Pakistan supports this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works on both sides,” he said, adding that it was a responsible state and that the Government of Pakistan has always taken its international legal obligations most seriously.

Pakistan also said that the mineral resources of Reko Diq were a collective resource of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan, adding that Pakistan was keen to exploit this resource to ensure that the development needs of some of the world’s poorest people were addressed.

The TCC is a 50-50 joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation of Australia and Antofagasta PLC of Chile, while the Reko Diq district in the southwest of Baluchistan is renowned for its mineral resources, including gold and copper.

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