‘We can run Reko Diq project’

ISLAMABAD:Renowned nuclear scientist and member Planning Commission, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Wednesday told the Supreme Court that they have technical expertise and manpower to run Reko Diq project, therefore, the Government should not give it to foreign company as it wanted to take raw copper and gold from the Reko Diq reserves out of the country.A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing identical petitions of Tariq Asad Advocate and Wattan Party through Zafarullah Advocate. Later, the Balochistan Government and Sanjrani tribe also became party into the case.The Reko Diq project, located in Chaghi district of Balochistan, is being developed by the Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (TCCP), jointly owned by Barrick Gold Corporation, Canada, and Antofagasta, Chile.Dr Samar informed the court, “They are fundamentally trained to handle the project independently.” He said every year the country has to import 0.1 million ton copper, adding “from Sandak project we don’t get even one kg copper for our industries therefore if we will operate this project ourselves then down-line industries in Pakistan would flourish.”The nuclear scientist with the help of multimedia explained that according to Tethyan Copper Company version gross value of metal (copper and gold) at Reko Diq (EL-5) site is $104 billion. The royalty payable to the Government of Balochistan at 2 per cent on gross value of metal is $2.08 billion and the share in profit of the Government of Balochistan at 25 per cent is $7.635 billion, while the total cash payable to the Government of Balochistan for life of mine, which is 56 years, would be $8.97 billion. The cash payable to Balochistan would be $160 million per year – Nation