Our Natural Resources Beind Sold For Peanuts
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Posted 07 November 2010 - 11:50 PM
This is a scandal 500 times bigger than Pakistan Steel. What were the top foreign executives doing in Islamabad? Why foreign companies are being given a generous 75% share? The Supreme Court of Pakistan must intervene before the deal is sealed, although Balochistan chief minister says Pakistan’s interest will be protected.
SHAHEEN SEHBAI in Washington And AHMED NOORANI in Islamabad | Wednesday | 3 November 2010 | EXCLUSIVE The News International
Quietly, and below the media radar, some 20 top corporate bosses and lobbyists of two of the world’s largest gold mining groups have been meeting President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Governor State Bank and others in Islamabad throughout last week, pressing them to quickly hand over one of the world’s biggest gold and copper treasures found in Balochistan at Reko Diq, worth over $260 billion, to their companies, and for peanuts.
Before these highly enticing visits of the mining tycoons to clinch the deals, which followed intense behind-the-scene negotiations and bargaining through middle men, some highly bizarre developments have been taking place, leaving experts and the rest of the mining world stunned, amazed and confused.
These companies want that the mining licences should be issued by Pakistan immediately after their exploration licences expire soon. But there are legal hitches and pressure is now being put through the backdoor to get the target.
In recent years, so many games have been played to keep Pakistan’s share in the enormous treasure to a bare minimum, thanks to some greedy politicians and bureaucrats who sold their country’s natural wealth.
A deep study of numerous documents, statements of major players, stakeholders and competitors, interviews with key Pakistani officials, including Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani, the picture that emerges is so murky and mind boggling that any ordinary soul just cannot fathom what is going on. Only a thorough and detailed judicial probe can untangle this mystery.
There is a plethora of documents, which prove that almost everybody involved is trying to deceive everybody else, the real picture is never presented, misleading statements and even contradictory claims have been made in the media, the issue has been kept confused as the real mega deal is maturing fast behind closed doors.
“Because there is no effective investigating agency like NAB operating in the country, it is just the right case for the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to pick up the issue, put a hold on whatever is going on before any binding contracts and deals are signed, which may cause losses of billions of dollars, yes billions of dollars to Pakistan,” according to a corporate executive involved in the mining industry, based in New York. His company chairman is a reputed former three-term Congressman.
“The Reko Diq scandal is equal to 260 steel mills valued at one billion dollar each or 570 steel mills at $350 million each, the price at which PSM was being sold by PM Shaukat Aziz before it was stopped by the Supreme Court,” shows a calculation.
And according to one Washington mining industry expert, if Pakistan gets its fair share from the gold and copper mines, Balochistan and Pakistan would become richer than any of the present oil producing Gulf countries, many times over. “They have the goods, they need the will,” he said.
The massive mine deposits at Reko Diq in Chagai Balochistan are part of the same geological belt discovered in Afghanistan, which the Pentagon recently claimed was worth one trillion dollars, though President Hamid Karzai claimed it was worth more than 3 trillion dollars.
According to a report in the New York Times on June 13, 2010 by James Risen: “The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe. An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the Saudi Arabia of lithium, a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Black Berrys.”
Pakistan, it is estimated in mining circles, has more deposits than Afghanistan, so the enormity of the riches and the cost of the backdoor deals can easily be guessed. “It would be the mother of all the deals and grandfather of all the corruption cases in Pakistan, put together,” according to one expert.
Reading the piles of documents, statements, interviews and legal papers available with The News, the picture that emerges is one of a grand deception, loot and plunder that never happened before on such a scale and the facts, untruths, half-truths, attempts to sabotage, frauds and backdoor bribes, are all documented.
It all started in the Musharraf era but once the massive scale of the stakes involved became apparent to the PPP government, the Raisani/Zardari camp quickly jumped into the fray to renegotiate the deal, behind closed doors.
An Australian mineral exploration firm originally started the exploration and invested some $30 million but in 2006 sold the company to a Canadian and Chilean joint venture for $230 million. The old company was an Australian public company Tethyan Copper Prosperity Limited and the new company was named Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) of Pakistan. A trick game is being played in these cosmetic changes. The Canadians and Chileans, according to publicly declared information to their shareholders and regulators, took 37.5 per cent share each, while Pakistan only had the remaining 25 per cent.
Seeing the vast potential, the TCC soon raised its investment to half a billion dollars. The Pakistani shares belong to the Government of Balochistan and the federal government has no share. Due monies have not been paid to Pakistan or Balochistan treasuries.
Two licences (EL-6 and EL-8) for exploration were also given on a 100 per cent ownership basis to these foreign firms, with Pakistan (or Balochistan) having no share at all.
All this was done during the Musharraf regime and bureaucrats played havoc with Pakistani interests. They were trying to emulate President Hamid Karzai’s mining minister, who was caught with $30 million in his Dubai bank and later removed. According to a Washington Post report on Nov 18, 2009: “The Afghan minister of mines accepted a roughly $30 million bribe to award the country’s largest development project to a Chinese mining firm.”
Quoting a US official, the Washington Post said: “The alleged payment to Mohammad Ibrahim Adel was made in Dubai within a month of December 2007, when a big Chinese metallurgical group received the contract for a $2.9 billion project to extract copper from the Aynak deposit in Logar province. Aynak is considered one of the largest unexploited copper deposits in the world.”
The Pakistanis were never told the exact size of the gold and copper deposits that were found by these foreigners. Even until July this year, when a top level delegation of the Canadian company led by Aaron Regent met Prime Minister Gilani in Islamabad, the PM was told that development of this mega project shall generate a revenue of only about $3.5 billion for Government of Pakistan and $4.5 billion for Government of Balochistan over 40 years.
But the Canadian company has to report the real value to its own Canadian government agencies every year and on December 31, 2008 it informed these agencies, and its shareholders, that its 37.5 per cent share in Reko Diq would yield 17 million ounces of gold and 20 billion pounds of copper in measured, indicated and inferred resources. And these deposits have to be mined in 25 years, not as PM of Pakistan was told in 40 years.
At current prices of these two minerals, the total asset of the Canadian, Chilean and Pakistan government would be over $260 billion and according to former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, as the prices of gold and copper go up, the total yield could be even $500 billion or may be a trillion.
In 2008 the PPP leaders entered the equation and on Dec 25, 2009 the Government of Balochistan announced the cancellation of the Reko Diq agreement. The decision was taken unanimously by the provincial cabinet, which also means the entire Balochistan Assembly. The cabinet also decided not to extend exploration licence of Reko Diq to the Canadian company and not to issue any mining licence for further work. Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said on the occasion: “Cancellation of the Reko Diq copper and gold project agreement is a step towards getting control over provincial resources in accordance with the wishes of the people.”
The key statement he made was that he had held consultations with the coalition partners (read PPP and President Zardari) on the matter.
Before Raisani’s decisions in 2008 and 2009, the former chief minister during the Musharraf regime, Jam Yusuf had visited Canada and Chile in early 2007, why no one knows as it can only be guessed what a CM could do in the corporate HQ of a company.
Early this year, Raisani handed over affairs of the project to the Department of Mines and Mineral Development of Balochistan and acquired the services of eminent nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand, who was made head of its Board of Governors.
After the July 2010 visit of the Canadian company head to Islamabad, Chief Minister Raisani and Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources started pressurising the federal and provincial government officials to make an early decision about Reko Diq. Lots of officials were transferred from their posts. In October, in an unprecedented letter, the CM asked President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to convene a high-level meeting to take the final decision. It seems double games were already underway.
But in Dubai, before the Canadians visited Islamabad to see President Zardari, the CEO of the company announced on October 25, 2010 that Reko Diq project would go ahead as planned despite plans by the provincial government to cancel it. “The project is going ahead and will not be cancelled, we are now in talks with the government and we expect production to start by the end of 2015,” Gerhard Von Borries, Chief Executive of TCC, said on the sidelines of an industry event in Dubai.
One month before the October visit to Islamabad, the company submitted a 100,000 pages feasibility study and gave the cost as $3.3 billion. Experts say this $3.3 billion will be the construction cost to build the mining infrastructure to extract the gold and copper. It took three years to write this report and the Samar Mubarakmand Board was expected to study and give its finding, quickly, may be in just a few days.
But before the Board of Governors headed by Dr Samar could open the report, a new committee was formed on October 1, 2010, excluding most of the board members and perhaps the new committee would now decide everything, in undue haste shortly.
The Canadian company, Barrick Gold, with 29 mines all over the world, is already being accused on the web of some strange activities. These include spills of cyanide, mercury and other heavy metals, police and legalistic repression of critics, threats to water resources on four continents and even food poisoning, as well as rape.
In 2008, under oath in the Balochistan High Court, Barrick Gold stated it had nothing to do with building an airport in the heart of Balochistan for its mining operations. It turned out the airport was actually built but on someone else’s property, a neighbouring exploration company from the US.
However, in its quarterly filings of March 2007, Barrick reported to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington DC that they had spent $30 million to build the airport in Pakistan and other activities.
It was the same strip built on the neighbour’s property. The company made a false statement, to either the Balochistan High Court or the SEC. It was potential perjury any way. The US company, Benway Corporation, which is also exploring in the same area, has gone to Balochistan High Court against the intrusion on its land besides reporting the case to the SEC, which is looking whether violations of the US laws on corrupt practices have been violated.
While these confusing details may not make any sense for an ordinary reader, some 1,050 documents filed in the Balochistan High Court show that the TCC has been given unlawfully 508 sq km land on 30-year leases, a fact which CM Raisani has no clue about.
On Oct 28, when TCC executives were meeting the top PPP bosses in Islamabad, Chief Minister Balochistan was also around and he told Ahmad Noorani of The News: “This is impossible. As so far issues have not been finalised, so in no way TCC could be leased such a big land and that too for 30 years”.
He was asked: “Do you know that Reko Diq Exploration Licence No 5 gives TCC 240,000 acres of land and it expires in 2011. That TCC has had this licence from the Department of Mineral and Mining Development and on December 24 2009 you declared by a unanimous cabinet decision not to renew EL 5. But actually TCC had carefully bought and leased all that land from Board of Revenue of Balochistan in 2008 for 10 million dollars for 30 years. Your December 24 decision really had no teeth. TCC owns the land for 30 years. What has changed since December 24, 2009 that you are ready to sign a new agreement within a week or by November 24, 2010?”
The chief minister, who had no idea that a 30-year lease had been granted, responded: “It is not possible that such a big chunk of land is leased to TCC for a period of 30 years.” He asked his personal secretary to recheck and confirm the exact situation of the land lease to the TCC.
He was then asked about the cheques of millions of rupees he had received from the Canadian company. “How many total cheques you received from TCC or their related companies since you were sworn in as the CM. Why he thought they were giving him checks when their case was in the process of a major decision.”
Raisani admitted that a total of two cheques were given to him for Rs 10 million and Rs 8.5 million. “Both cheques were for the chief minister’s relief fund and were deposited in the Government of Balochistan account,” he maintained.
A spokesman of the TCC in Islamabad told The News that a cheque of Rs 8.5 million was given to Chief Minister Balochistan on Aug 25, 2010 for CM’s flood relief fund only and this cheque was for chief minister. But Press Secretary to the Chief Minister, Kamran, claimed that the cheque of Rs8.5 million was given by the TCC in the name of the Government of Balochistan and was deposited in the CM’s account for flood relief. He said this cheque had nothing to do with the files of the TCC in CM’s office.
CM Raisani told The News after the Dec 24, 2009 decision that the TCC had submitted a fresh feasibility study, which was being analysed and so far no final decision had been taken. Despite the statement of his press secretary, the CM asserted that no date could be given when the decision to award this project would be taken.
Asked about the licences, which were totally foreign owned without any share of Pakistan, the CM answered that for exploration licences there was no question of any share of Government of Balochistan. “For exploration, Balochistan will have to pay the TCC,” he argued.
In answer to the most pertinent question asked about the size of the deposits and what Pakistan would get out of the deal, CM Raisani was evasive.
He was asked: “Do you know that the value of Reko Diq is $260 billion as per records of the Canadian company (at today’s gold/copper international market rates), the government and former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said its value was $500 billion but in July the President of Barrick Gold came to PM Gilani and said the value was only $50 billion. Why is the government in such a hurry to decide this matter in favour of TCC on the fast track?”
In a surprising statement, Raisani just said the total cost was Rs 8.9 billion, not dollars. He ignored the rest of the question. Asked whether any international consultant was being hired to study the 100,000 pages feasibility studies as this was the first project of its kind in Pakistan, the CM said: “No, we don’t. We don’t need any. We have so many experts in different fields.”
“Is it correct that CM Balochistan is being pressurised by President Zardari to sign a deal with TCC,” he was asked.
His response: “I met President Zardari on this issue on Wednesday (last week).” Asked what the president told him to do, he said it was between President Zardari and him and he would not disclose what Zardari asked him on awarding of the project to the TCC.
But then, as an afterthought, he added: “The federal government is not pressurising me on this issue. We are dealing with this ourselves.”
The bottomline is that Pakistan now has to issue mining licences to extract gold and copper, which is worth billions of dollars and the current mood in Islamabad is to give the foreign companies a huge share. In fact, Pakistan should retain 70 to 80 per cent of these treasures.
In many countries, where agreements had already been signed giving a much bigger share to foreigners, these agreements were revised in the interest of the host country. Ireland, South Africa, Venezuela renegotiated their mining and oil exploration contracts to their benefit.
Anyone interested in making a few million dollars, like the Afghan minister of the Karzai government, which could cost the country billions, must not be allowed to do so. This is the role the Supreme Court, parliament and the media have to play at this crucial time.
This exclusive report was published by The News International. Illustration by PakNationalists.com
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Posted 07 November 2010 - 11:53 PM
"Degree asli ho ya nakli degree tow degree hoti hai"
" WHETHER FAKE OR REAL, A DEGREE IS A DEGREE"
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Posted 08 November 2010 - 12:50 AM
It was basically sold in times of General Singhara
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Posted 08 November 2010 - 05:27 AM
Liya jayega tujh se kam, duniya ki imamat ka
In Pakistan's yay or nay, the fate of other nations will be sealed. Insha Allah.
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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:09 PM
AHMED QURAISHI and BILAL KHAN UMERZAI | Monday | 8 November 2010
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—No one noticed when an international mining conglomerate placed a large advert in a Pakistani newspaper over the weekend seeking to recruit a slick operative to help in dealing with the federal Pakistani government for ‘a major project in the mining industry in Pakistan.’
The advertisement was placed by Tethyan Copper Company in Dawn newspaper yesterday, Sunday, Nov. 7. In explaining the new recruitment, the advert said, “[Tethyan], in partnership with Government of Balochistan, is developing a world-class copper-gold mine in Reko Diq, District Chagal of Balochistan.”
The ad sought to invite applicants for the position of Security & Government Affairs Officer based in Islamabad. As the title suggests, the successful candidate is expected to ensure security on the ground in Balochistan, and create and peddle influence to ensure no government department blocks company interests.
It makes sense the large advertisement did not appear in the other large newspaper of the country, The News International, which probably angered the foreign mining company five days ago when it ran an investigative story exposing a possible underhand deal to sell off the national asset in exchange for greasing the palms of a few greedy Pakistani politicians and bureaucrats.
The advertisement signifies one of two things:
Either the federal government and the provincial government of Balochistan have renewed Tethyan’s contract;
Or Tethyan is now part of a new deal involving fresh entrants
In either case, the new recruitment indicates that Pakistan’s elected government is going ahead with plans to sell off the country’s wealth for peanuts or that it has already done so. The problem is that this is being done without public scrutiny or debate, possibly involving commissions or bribes to ensure the companies get the most out of Pakistani assets with very little going to Pakistani government coffers.
If properly utilized, Reko Diq mines and other natural assets, including rare earths, can easily pull Pakistan out of debt and end foreign aid dependence. But this appears impossible under the country’s failed political system and rusting administrative rules requiring an overhaul.
Mining license for Reko Diq was first sold to foreign companies around 2006 under then President Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Reports suggested bribes and commissions ensured that Government of Pakistan get very little out of the deal while foreign companies pocket most of the discovered wealth.
There is not much credible public information available on the details of the license granted by the Musharraf-Aziz government. Online data bank Wikipedia.org is not a reliable source of information but this paragraph is posted on the site, referring to the 2006 deal:
“One of the world’s largest copper deposits (and its matrix-associated residual gold) have been found at Reko Diq in the Chagai District of Baluchistan. Reko Diq is a giant mining project in Chaghi. The main license (EL5) is held jointly by the Government of Baluchistan (25%), Antofagasta Minerals (37.5%) and Barrick Gold (37.5%). The deposits at Reko Diq are hoped to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile (presently, the second and the third largest proven deposits of copper in the world). BHP Billiton, the world’s largest copper mining company, began the project in cooperation with the Australian firm Tethyan, entering into a joint venture with the Balochistan government. The potential annual copper production has been estimated to be 900,000 to 2.2 million tons.”
Even if Wikipedia is sometimes unreliable, the above information checks out. Barrick Gold hasconfirmed it partially on its website.
All of this means that, circa 2006, the Musharraf-Aziz government sold the most lucrative natural asset of Pakistan cheap, way cheap than anything expected anywhere else in the world. The excuse was that Pakistani government didn’t have the skills to exploit this natural resource and so we might as well get something out of it than nothing.
A Pakistani citizen who did not reveal his name posted the following analysis on the Internet explaining in simple terms what the Musharraf-Aziz government had done. He titled his post, ‘Congratulations—Pakistan is being sold out – Thank you Shaukat Aziz!’
Out of 100% of the mining project:
37.5% share has been given to Antofagasta Minerals
37.5% share has been given to Barrick Gold
Only a mere 25% share has been given to the provincial Government of Balochistan
But that was during the Musharraf ‘dictatorship’, as detractors refer to that era. The irony is that something very similar or possibly worse is happening under the democratic government of President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The Zardari-Gilani government refuses to open the bidding process for Reko Diq mine to public scrutiny.
Five days after the front-page The News story, the federal Pakistani government is yet to utter a single word. There has not even been a denial of corruption allegations or a reassurance that Pakistani interest will be protected.
But what could prove a game spoiler for the little scheme hatched by the Pakistani government and its foreign partners is the judiciary. Following The News story, a Pakistani citizen haspetitioned the Supreme Court of Pakistan to scrutinize the Reko Diq arrangements.
Reach Ahmed Quraishi at firstname.lastname@example.org and Bilal Khan Umerzai email@example.com
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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:36 PM
NIGAAH-E-MARD-E-MOMIN SAY BADAL JAATEE HAIN TAQDEERAIN
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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:49 PM
GHQ still doesn’t get it, Pakistan need a system overhaul and soon. GHQ needs to stop wasting time with Zardari containment policy or Musharraf homecoming policy. Sooner GHQ starts thinking on system overhaul line the better it would be for GHQ and Pakistan.
Kay Jamhooriat Bhi Ayari Hai Amariyat Bhi Ayari Hai
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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:11 PM
I hope they are. They must be doing something, they can't possibly be so stupid that they don't know the whole system needs to be overhauled inside and out.
NIGAAH-E-MARD-E-MOMIN SAY BADAL JAATEE HAIN TAQDEERAIN
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:05 PM
By Ikram Sehgal
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Reko Diq is a remote location in the north-west of Chagai, a sparsely populated district in north-western Balochistan. The weather in the desert there ranges from searing summers of 40-50°C to freezing winters of down to -10°C, with precipitations (winter rain and some snowfall) of less than 40mm. Periods of high wind and dust- and sandstorms have a demobilising impact on local activities and trade. Access to Chagai district is from the Zahidan-Quetta highway.
A large low-grade copper porphyry deposit, Reko Diq has total mineral resources of 5.9 billion tons of ore with an average copper grade of 0.41 per cent and gold grade of 0.22 g/ton. The economically mineable portion of the deposit has been calculated at 2.2 billion tons, with an average copper grade of 0.53 per cent and gold grade of 0.30 g/ton. The annual production is estimated at 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold contained in 600,000 tons of concentrate. At today’s international prices of copper at $8,600/ton (with cost of production at $1,500/ton) and gold at $1,350/ounce (with cost of production $350/ounce), the profit works out to $1.42 billion for copper and $2.5 billion for gold, $4 billion approximately annually from a revenue of $4.65 billion. This translates to $224 billion’s profit from revenues of $260 billion over the life of the mine.
BHP Billiton initially signed the exploration licence with the government of Balochistan in 1993, while Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) was being formed in Australia, with BHP Billiton having 75 per cent and the Balochistan government 25 per cent. With gold and copper established in substantial quantity, BHP sold its stake 37.5 per cent each to the Chilean Conglomerate Antofagasta Minerals and the Canadian company Barrick Gold. TCC has completed an extensive exploration programme at Reko Diq with more than 300,000 meters’ drilling. Negotiations with the Balochistan government and the government of Pakistan are underway for getting the very crucial mining licence, since the exploration licence expires in February.
As soon as the mining lease is granted, it will be followed by project financing and construction of ancillary infrastructure to make the mine operational. $3 billion’s investment is required over a four-year period of construction to build a world-class copper and gold open-pit mine that will utilise a conventional “truck and shovel” technique. Giant mechanical shovels will be used to dig out the copper ore, which will then be loaded onto 360-ton trucks to haul copper ore on a daily basis from the mine to the processing facility. The rocks (ore) will be crushed in giant crushers, and the crushed ore will be transferred to a fine-grinding stage and converted into a powdered form. Containing small quantities of copper and gold, this powder will pass through a separation process called “flotation,” resulting in 30 per cent concentrated slurry of copper and traces of gold.
The initial processing plant envisages 110,000 tons of ore per day (and another 170,000 tons of waste) processed through the flotation process. A 682-kilometre concentrate pipeline, the world’s largest, will then transport the slurry from the mine site to Gwadar to a dedicated marine terminal facility at the port for storage and subsequent transfer to shipping vessels.
Commercial mining operations are anticipated to last 56 years at an estimated annual operating expense of about $400 million, approximately half of which will be spent within Pakistan. TCC claims to have already spent over $200 million since 2006 on exploration and technical studies.
Plans include a 189MW dedicated plant which will provide power for the project, ancillaries and the residential colony. Heavy furnace-oil-based combined cycle reciprocating engines will be installed to provide 99.5 per cent availability. The concentrate produced at the processing plant will be further fluidised into a slurry of 53-57 per cent and transported to Gwadar via a pipeline.
The other main features of the pipeline, apart from its being the world’s largest underground pipeline for slurry, are that leak-detection equipment will be installed and the pipeline will be encased in concrete at river crossings and three booster stations will be established along the route.
A number of facilities will be built at Gwadar port in order to handle the concentrate for final shipment. They include dewatering facilities and pressure filters for the removal of concentrate to from the slurry, a covered shed to store dried concentrate, a conveyor belt to transport the concentrate from the storage yard to the shipping berth, and a ship-loader to load the ship with the concentrate cargo.
About the investors, BHP Billiton is the world’s largest supplier of iron ore and sea-traded hard coking coal, largest producer of export thermal coal, lead and zinc and third-largest producer of copper. It is the world’s sixth-largest producer of aluminium and produces three per cent of the world’s diamond supply. It has a significant oil and gas business.
To build and operate a railway from the northern Chilean port of Antofagasta (which gives the name to the company) to the Bolivian capital of La Paz, Antofagasta and the Bolivia Railway Company were incorporated in London in 1888. A majority interest in the company was acquired in 1980 by the Luksic Group, a Chilean industrial family. The patriarch of the Luksic family, the late Andronico Luksic, who died in 2005, was born to a Croatian immigrant and a Bolivian mother. In 1982, Antofagasta Holdings Plc (renamed Antofagasta Plc in 1999) was formed as the new holding company in Chile. Antofagasta diversified into a number of other sectors, including mining. Today it is one of the largest international copper-producing companies in the world.
Canada’s Barrick Gold Corporation, owned by the Munk family, is the gold industry leader, with 25 operating mines and a number of large, long-life projects located across five continents. Its founder-chairman, Peter Munk, is, like Luksic an immigrant, but from Hungary. It has the world’s largest reserves of 139.8 million ounces of gold, 6.1 billion pounds of copper reserves and 1.06 billion ounces of contained silver within gold reserves as of Dec 31, 2009. In 2009, Barrick produced 7.42 million ounces of gold at the net cash cost of $363 per ounce and 393 million pounds of copper at the net cash cost of 0.85 per pound. It has since reduced costs even further.
Who in the government of Pakistan or the Balochistan government originally gave the waiver to BHP Billiton to palm off its 75 per cent share and at what price, without being privy to the deal? Why are the Chileans and Canadians risking life and limb, as well as their investment in such a dangerous area, except for a huge profit? Why is Tethyan not making the smelting plants in Pakistan, instead of shipping the concentrate abroad? Why don’t we do the mining ourselves, paying for foreign expertise.
Considering that cyanide will be used extensively in the mining, this should go well with the dirt which we will be left with at the end of this scandalous transition.
Who is now trying to sell this gold mine for nothing? Can the Supreme Court please make an example out of someone?
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