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Reko Diq: the way forward

My skilled innings as a metallurgical engineer began with the appearance of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) within the late Seventies. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was in a rush to place the items collectively. After being exploited by the West for many years, the USSR (Russia) got here to our rescue to construct the power at Zulfiqarabad (Port Qasim). A blast furnace was put in by which pig iron was produced primarily based on imported iron ore and coal. The plan was to step by step substitute the inputs by idigenous pure assets. The skilled crew of engineers labored laborious to supply high-quality metal. At its peak manufacturing, the output of the power was shut to three MTPY (Million Tons per Year) in opposition to nationwide demand of round 5 MTPY. Today the delight of the nation is shut down and the nation is assembly its wants by means of imported metal. The native iron 6re deposits stay unutilized.

Pakistan additionally imports about 100,000 tons of copper yearly whereas the identical steel being mined at Saindak is shipped to China the place it’s smelted and refined as a completed product to be bought within the open market. The Saindak Copper-Gold Project was launched in 1992 by Saindak Metals Limited (SML), a public-sector entity. It was my first mission on my return to Pakistan. As knowledgeable, I attempted greatest to save lots of the mission in bigger nationwide pursuits however it fell on deaf ears. As there was very restricted large-scale industrial mining expertise within the nation it was a mix of mismanagement, incompetence, corruption and greed.

For the final 20 years the ore has been crushed and floor and the precious metals separated from the gangue by means of flotation, which is a longtime course of. The focus is then shipped with all its valuables (copper. Gold, silver) to China. After my skilled recommendation was overruled, I made a decision to doc and publish my expertise with the SML administration. On July 21, 1997 I revealed an in depth account of the debacle titled; ” Need to Save Saindak Project “. Unforunately I couldn’t reserve it and as predicted it was leased out to the Chinese contractor, MCC (Metallurgical Corporation of China).

As Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF- 2002 to 2005) and convenor of the Planning Commission Committee on Mining and Minerals, I focussed on growing the mineral sector of the nation. With my skilled expertise in massive scale industrial mining, I took upon myself the challenges confronted on this space. The Thar Coal mission was launched in 2004. It took 14 lengthy years for me to the touch the Black Gold which is now our Energy future. Currently 660 MW of energy is being produced whereas about 4000 MW is within the pipeline. Currently I’m concerned in producing gasoline from this accretion.

Work was additionally began on the Kalabagh Iron Ore deposit by revisiting the Krupp Wrenn course of. Testing was carried out on the PCSIR (Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) Lahore centre the place Metal Luppens (80 p.c] iron had been produced for use within the electrical arc furnace as enter. After my time period led to 2005, I stored getting into my particular person skilled capability. While mining has began at Thar, the Kalabagh 6re isn’t getting used.

It is time to formulate a ‘ Mineral and Mining Road Map ‘ for the nation to cut back our import invoice along with reaching self reliance on this very important space. A contemporary begin needs to be made.

Then got here Reko Diq, one other copper-gold mission in Balochistan. In the 12 months 1993 a three way partnership between BDA (Balochistan Development Authority) and BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary) a number one Australian Mining Company, known as CHEJVA (Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture) was signed. In 1996 BHP utilized for an exploration licence which was granted on the premise of 75/25% (BHP, BDA respectively). BHP then bought a part of its stakes to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) which consisted of Antofagasta Minerals (37.5 p.c) and Barrick Gold (37.5 p.c). Before the expiry of its exploration licence in 2011, TCC utilized for a mining lease which was not granted. In 2010 Constitution Petition No. 68/2010 was filed within the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP).

Dr Samar Mubarakmand introduced his skilled opinion by which he claimed his involvement in a number of essential mining tasks of the nation. The Supreme Court, below the restored Chief Justice, rejected all claims of TCC for the correct to mine within the space. TCC then determined to strategy ICSID (International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes) which determined in its favour. The award was round $ 6.2 billion along with another claims the full penalty for breach of contract got here to round $ 11 billion.

As I knew all of the gamers, alone initiative I made a decision to satisfy them for a negotiated settlement. And interacted with the federal government’s authorized crew to information them. Since 2011, I had been making an attempt to achieve an settlement by bringing all stakeholders to the negotiating desk. In 2018, I travelled to Toronto to satisfy one of many buyers. On my return, I used to be knowledgeable {that a} Saudi Mining Company has agreed to take over the mission. An area consortium known as National Resources Limited additionally obtained concerned within the improvement of this useful resource.

Finally it has been reported that the dispute has been amicably settled on 50/50% foundation with Barrick Gold and three state owned entities (SOE) particularly OGDCL (Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited), PPL (Pakistan Petroleum Ltd ), GHPL ( Government Holdings Pakistan Limited ). Alas there was a sigh of aid, the specter of award is over however the future raod map stays fuzzy as earlier than. It appears no classes have been learnt from the promote out of Saindak deposit. The Copper import invoice will proceed. It appears to be a repeat of the sooner expertise the place the Chinese buyers had been allowed to ship the focus residence for worth addition leaving the tailings behind.

Several steps are concerned in extracting Copper hidden below the soil at Reko Diq ( Mound of Sand in Balochi Langauage). First step is mining, adopted by ore focus, then smelting to supply impure steel which is then refined to supply a high-purity product (99.9 p.c or increased).

A industrial entity enters into funding to generate wealth. According to TCC most worth addition takes place with step one of manufacturing the focus which was then to be transferred by means of a pipeline (682 km) to Gwadar from the place it was to be shipped for additional processing by skilled amenities not out there inside Pakistan.

There had been two objections to the unique contract, firstly it was poorly negotiated with clear indicators of incompetence and corruption, secondly the 25 p.c native share was additionally being despatched abroad. Pakistan wanted the completed steel for which downstream processing was required which TCC was unwilling to do. Under the current settlement, the share of Pakistan/Balochistan has been elevated to 50 p.c with Barrick Gold holding the remaining, however once more there isn’t a street map to supply completed steel by which the nation must import to satisfy its wants. The settlement was negotiated by the Attorney General with technical help of a German Consulting agency, as normal native experience was ignored. Legal points had been coated whereas the home copper necessities had been ignored.

Without the involvement of native and expatriate specialists the nation is not going to transfer ahead. Both China and India benefited from this out there human useful resource whereas within the land of the pure it has been blatantly ignored. Capitalism permits exploitation which needs to be checked by impartial specialists for the frequent public good. At the time of Saindak there was no massive scale industrial mining expertise within the nation. With the launch of Thar Project now this experience exists, the identical crew below the previous crew chief is already positioned to begin mining at Reko Diq. Our pure mineral belongings should be protected and used to satisfy our nationwide wants. Unfortunately now we have not been capable of exploit our potential on this very important space. While we proceed to import metal and copper our deposits stay untapped. It is an instance of ‘the blind leading the blind,’ which should finish.

Some of the choices of the ex-CJP and his chosen specialists have been disastrous for the nation. While the Thar debacle is being investigated by NAB, the Reko Diq case also needs to be reviewed by the Supreme Judicial Council to keep away from future hiccups inflicted by judicial activism. No nation can advance with out the fundamental constructing blocks for which metals (ferrous, non-ferrous) play a dominant function. After Reko Diq comes on line, a metal mill could be arrange primarily based on the Chiniot iron ore deposit which is prepared for exploitation.

Lots of homework as already been achieved by the Punjab Mineral Company. It is time to formulate a ‘ Mineral and Mining Road Map ‘ for the nation to cut back our import invoice along with reaching self reliance on this very important space. A contemporary begin needs to be made.

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