Published: Tue, July 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

TCC open to negotiated settlement with Pakistan

TCC open to negotiated settlement with Pakistan

Antofagasta said the World Bank arbitration court had ordered the Pakistani government pay damages of $5.8bn to Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between the company and Barrick Gold.

The ICSID, which provides facilities for conciliation and arbitration of worldwide investment disputes, rendered its judgement on Friday in a 700-page ruling against Pakistan.

The damages nearly match the $6 billion bailout Pakistan agreed to with the International Monetary Fund two months ago to help the South Asian nation avert an economic crisis. Pakistan's government said it will review the ruling and consider a potential petition to the tribunal.

The ICSID's ruling is major setback for Pakistan, which is at a "critical juncture" where it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms, according to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) which agreed to give a United States dollars 6 billion bailout package to the cash-strapped country.

Meanwhile, Tethyan board chair William Hayes has said in a statement the company was still "willing to strike a deal with Pakistan". A spokesman said: "The government of Pakistan welcomes this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works for both sides".

"The mineral resources in Reko Diq are the collective resource of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan". The Tribunal also awarded TCC just under $62 million in costs incurred in enforcing its rights.

"Pakistan welcomes all foreign investors and assures them that their lawful rights, interests and assets will always be protected", the AG office said.

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The worldwide arbitration tribunal had rejected Pakistan's final defence against liability in 2017 and made the decision determining damages on Friday.

More than a decade ago the group found vast gold and copper deposits at Reko Diq, in the turbulent southwestern Baluchistan province, and had planned a hugely lucrative open-pit mine.

Reko Diq gold and copper mines project case was decided by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its original and appellate jurisdiction simultaneously in 2013 and 2014.

It further said that all stakeholders, including the Balochistan government are looking into the legal and financial implications of the decision by an internal tribunal.

Barrick and Antofagasta say the proposed plant could produce 600,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold a year.

Tethyan acknowledged it had invested about $220 million in the mission earlier than local authorities blocked it in 2011.

The provincial government is also a sleeping partner in the Reko Diq project with a 25 per cent stake.

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