Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited is a Joint Venture between two of world’s major miners; Barrick Gold Corporation and Antofagasta PLC. Together the shareholders provide international experience and state of the art mining expertise. TCC was collectively bought over in the year 2006 through a shareholder agreement between Chile based Antofagasta PLC and Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada. TCC’s principal asset is a 75% interest in the exploration license (EL-5) for copper-gold prospects at Reko Diq in district Chagai of Balochistan in which the Government of Balochistan holds the remaining 25% share. TCC and the Government of Balochistan are partners under the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) which was originally signed between BHP and the Government of Balochistan in 1993.
In 1993 BHP negotiated the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) with the province of Balochistan to explore the Chagai Hills region. From 1994 to 1997 BHP discovered significant copper-gold deposit at Reko Diq. In year 2000, Tethyan Copper Company was established by Mincor Resources NL after taking over the project from BHP. In 2006, Antofagasta PLC and Barrick Gold Corporation formed a JV and acquired 100% of Tethyan Copper Company Pty. Limited, an Australian company. Tethyan Australia subsequently transferred all mining rights to its Pakistani subsidiary, Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan.
Current status of Reko Diq Project
TCC completed an extensive and detailed bankable feasibility study establishing the basis for mine development at Reko Diq during August 2010 and submitted a Mining Lease Application in February 2011, along with an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report. Progress on the project came to a standstill in November 2011, when the Government of Balochistan summarily rejected the application by TCC’s local operating subsidiary, Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (Private) Limited (“TCCP”), for a mining lease in respect of Reko Diq. TCC believes that, under the Chagai Hills Joint Venture Agreement (“CHEJVA”) between TCC and the Government of Balochistan, as well as under the Balochistan Mineral Rules 2002, TCCP was legally entitled to the mining lease subject only to “routine” government requirements.
In order to protect its legal rights, in November 2011 TCC commenced international arbitration proceedings at two forums: one against the Government of Pakistan with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, asserting breaches of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Australia (where TCC is incorporated) and Pakistan, and another against the Government of Balochistan with the International Chamber of Commerce, asserting breaches of the CHEJVA.
Despite the initiation of arbitral proceedings in order to protect its rights, TCC remains open to reach a negotiated resolution to the case