* Balochistan AG tells court that Pakistani experts examining feasibility report

ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Advocate General (AG), Salahuddin Mengal, informed the apex court on Monday that the provincial government would not renew the exploration licence of Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) until it fulfilled all the terms and conditions of the contract.

A four-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was hearing the case relating to the exploration of gold and copper from Reko Diq.

“If we as a nation do not have self-respect then the foreigners will rule over us. We are surrendering to a foreign country in such a mean manner,” Justice Ramday observed.

Mengal said the government had asked the TCC to set up a refinery to determine the quantity of copper, gold and other minerals in the concentrate. He said the government would not renew the contract unless the company fulfilled its requirements.

He said the provincial government had asked the company that instead of laying a 680-kilometre-long pipeline for the transportation of copper and gold from Reko Diq to Gwadar, the company should either lay a railway track or construct a road. It had been conveyed to the company that the pipeline would be prone to saboteur activity as the law and order situation in Balochistan was poor.

Fakharuddin G Ibrahim, counsel for the TCC, said the feasibility report was confidential, however, the company was ready to share it with the court. He said the report was with the Balochistan government at the moment.

The chief justice told Mengal that since the feasibility report was with the Balochistan government, he should inform the court who would scrutinise it. The AG said a team of geological experts from the Balochistan Mineral Department was examining the feasibility report. The court adjourned the hearing until today (Tuesday).

Daily Times