The Pakistan government has rejected a Canadian-Chilean mining joint venture application to develop the multi-billion dollar Reko Diq gold and copper deposit in Baluchistan province, considered one of the world's richest deposits.
The joint venture, Tethyan Copper Co Pakistan Ltd, (TCC) comprising Canada's Barrick Gold Corp and Chile's Antofagasta, said that they were disappointed after the provincial government rejected a mining licence at a remote site in the dry hills near the Afghan-Pakistan border, known as Reko Diq.
Angered by the rejection, which TCC sees as a move to favour Chinese mining companies, Tethyan said in a statement, "The Licensing Authority's summary refusal to grant the Mining Licence to which TCC (Tethyan) is entitled breaches not only the Baluchistan Mineral Rules (2002), but also TCC's rights under the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) and Pakistani law."
Trouble with the application erupted earlier this year, when Chinese mining companies pushed an alternate plan for what could become the biggest mine in Pakistan.
The rejection came after a committee formed to examine TCC's feasibility report said it was incomplete.
Last month, Tethyan Copper had filed a "notice of dispute" after local officials refused to meet the company's executives or extend a deadline for a response to objections raised over the lease.