Reko Diq is a small town in Chagai District, Balochistan, Pakistan, in a desert area 70 kilometres north west of Naukundi, near to the Iran-Afghan border.
Reko Diq, also the name of an ancient volcano, literally means sandy peak, but this is something of a misnomer. It could be called Tangav Diq, or gold peak, says Syed Fazl-e-Haider, a development expert on such projects.
‘Below the sands lie some 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold. The copper-gold deposits at Reko Diq are believed to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile’.
What is Reko Diq Project?
The Reko Diq project is a large copper-gold porphyry resource on the Tethyan belt, located in the dry desert conditions of southwest Pakistan within the remote and sparsely populated province of Balochistan . The Tethyan belt is a prospective region for large gold-copper porphyries.
Reko Diq is a giant copper and gold project in Chaghi. The main license (EL5) is held jointly by the Government of Balochistan (25%), Antofagasta Minerals (37.5%) and Barrick Gold (37.5%)
Actually Barrick has a 50% interest in Tethyan Copper Company (the other 50% is owned by Antofagasta plc), which has a 75% interest in the Reko Diq project and associated mineral interests (for a resulting 37.5% interest in Reko Diq).
As of December 31, 2008, Barrick’s share of measured and indicated and inferred gold resources is 8.5 and 8.4 million ounces respectively. Barrick’s share of measured and indicated and inferred copper resources is 11.5 and 8.5 billion pounds respectively.
A further 14 mineralized porphyry bodies are known to exist, with the potential to place the Reko Diq Project among the largest undeveloped copper resources on the globe.
The TCC has estimated annual production 200 to 500 million copper tones from the project. The Company started the Reko-Diq copper project in 2003 with an investment of US $130 million. The project is faced with acute shortage of water for having no surface flow. The expected mining operations in Reko Diq will depend on sub-surface water with the exploration of underground water potential in the region being a pre-requisite for any mining project.
The Real Face of Barrick Gold:
In a reader poll conducted by the Censored News blog; Readers, primarily Indigenous Peoples, voted Monsanto as the second Worst Company in the World. Peabody Energy Corp., recently granted a life of mine permit to expand coal mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, was voted the third Worst Company in the World.
Barrick Gold Corp., which began the destruction of the Western Shoshone’s MountTenabo region during Thanksgiving, was voted the fourth Worst Company in the World. Blackwater Worldwide, responsible for murders and brutality worldwide, was voted the fifth Worst Company in the World
Barrick Gold, responsible for the deaths of Indigenous Peoples around the world, began its onslaught on the sacred lands of the Western Shoshone at MountTenabo during the Thanksgiving holidays. Before leaving office, President Bush Sr. made it possible for Barrick to lease lands for gold mining in Nevada . Once out of office, Bush Sr. went to work for Barrick as a senior consultant.
Protestors gathered outside of Barrick Gold’s annual general meeting last year to show their solidarity with the affected indigenous community representatives who were inside the meeting voicing their complaints to the company shareholders.
In Australia, DR Congo, Ghana , Tanzania and New Guinea , Indigenous Peoples are fighting Barrick’s destruction in solidarity with the Western Shoshone. They are fighting the coring out of mountains for minute particles of gold and the poisoning of water with cyanide leaching.
Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone grandmothers said the United States is trespassing on Western Shoshone treaty land, destroying mountains, trees, food and medicine, while leaving dirty polluted water ponds for birds and animals.
“Why doesn’t the mining company go and dig the Vatican or the Mormon Tabernacle instead of Western Shoshone lands, I’m sure they will find gold there,” said Mary McCloud, Western Shoshone grandmother, mourning the bulldozing of the pines near the ceremonial grounds on MountTenabo in November.
Near the Porgera mine in New Guinea, Jethro Tulin of the Akali Tange Association, told Barrick Gold, “Your security guards have been shooting and killing our people and raping, even gang-raping our women with impunity for years now.”
Sydney residents also raised concerns about cyanide.
In 2007, concerned citizens gathered at Chullora in western Sydney to protest against the multinational mining company Barrick Gold.The protest was part of an International Day of Action against the company.
Barrick Gold has mines across the globe, including North and South America, Africa and Australia.
Rise of Barrick Gold in Pakistan
The Jewish Company working there states that the pre-feasibility study is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2009. Work on the feasibility study has commenced and is expected to be completed in early 2010.
Barrick bought a stake in the Reko Dig copper-gold project in Pakistan for $100 million in February from Antofagasta PLC, a Chilean mining group.
In 2007, When CEO Greg Wilkins went to Islamabad in connection with that project, Munk said, he was received by both Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and President Pervez Musharraf.
Although the company’s assessment of opportunities in that country is still in the early days, Wilkins said Barrick would be “very interested” in more projects there, despite challenges posed by the presence of al-Qaida in some of its regions.
According to Mineweb.com…. What is believed to be one of the world’s largest reserves of gold and copper were discovered last year in the Chaghi area in Pakistan’s southwest BalochistanProvince. The Balochistan government has a 25% share while Barrick Gold has obtained 50% of the Reko Diq project. Reko Diq is believed to contain 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold in inferred and indicated resources. Some surveys have suggested that Reko Diq may contain as much as 11 billion pounds of copper and nine million ounces of gold.
BHP Billiton, which was involved in the project at an earlier date, also believed Reko Diq may have the potential to yield copper resources that may eventually make it a multi-billion project. Antofagasta is now a 50-50 partner with Barrick. If the project is successful, it may have the potential to generate a mining industry in Pakistan.
An estimated US$46 million project budget includes a scoping study and initial pre-feasibility costs. The scoping study has been completed for the Western Porphyries with an updated resource anticipated at year end, Barrick Executive Vice President, Exploration and Project Development, Alex Davidson told analysts last week.
While Riko was initially envisioned as a 72,000 tpd operation, Davidson said the joint ventures partners are now examining “significantly greater outputs.”
In an e-mail to Mineweb, Barrick Senior Vice President Vince Borg said, “Our project staff in Islamabad are safe, which is the paramount concern wherever we operate, and we are in regular contact with them.” He noted that Reko Diq is in a very remote location, Balochistan , “and work on the site is continuing.”
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, started this project with the Australian firm Tethyan, entering into a joint venture with the Balochistan government and estimating an annual production of 200 to 500 million pounds of copper. A large number of porphyry rocks are also known to exist.
The interests of the Australian company in Reko Diq and its neighbourhood were taken over by the Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation and the Chilean Antofagasta Minerals. These companies were handed a very lucrative deal. The terms agreed upon show that there is more to the issue than meets the eye. Royalties were reduced from the initial four to two per cent. Terms for the provision of cost-free land for an airport and a 400 km Reko Diq-Gwadar road were accepted. An unjust clause is that a 25 per cent share will be paid to the Balochistan government, but only after it invests 25 per cent in the project.
Antofagasta’s net assets at the end of 2007 grew to almost $5bn. In December 2005 it said: “Tethyan’s principal assets are a 75 per cent interest in the highly prospective Chagai Hills region of North West Pakistan known as Reko Diq, including the Tanjeel Mineral Resource. This mining district hosts significant copper-gold porphyry deposits as part of an extended copper-gold belt. Total indicated and inferred mineral resource estimates at these properties are 1,213 million tonnes with a copper grade of 0.58% and a gold grade of 0.28 grams per tonne. Estimates include probable reserves at the Tanjeel of 128.8 million tonnes with a copper grade of 0.7%.”
According to Rob Maguire of the Dominion paper, Barrick is the foremost gold mining corporation in the world, with sales exceeding $2.6bn in 2005 and the largest reserves in the industry, at nearly 90 million ounces. Proponents of this project state that the mines will create thousands of high paying jobs and give a massive boost to the local economy. However the main fear many have is that revenues generated by this project will be squandered by corrupt officials. Therefore it is imperative that a mechanism be evolved to ensure that revenues generated actually lead to better infrastructure, education and health.
These corporations have outsourced services to Pakistani contractors such as ROCKMORE PVT LIMITED, Security 2000, Zia ul Haq & Company, and foreign companies like Capital Drilling & Zain Drilling Company. In April 2008, Zain Drilling Company terminated the services of forty drilling assistants and recruited novices and non-locals. The AZAT Foundation has tried to protect their rights, and on June 14, 2008 a well-attended demonstration was held outside the Quetta Press Club.
There are many advocates of such mega projects who claim that the Baloch have benefited from their trickle-down effect. However, mining uses sodium cyanide, arsenic and other chemicals which produce toxic by-products. According to Marcel Claude, vice-president of the international environmental group Oceana, gold mining dumps 79 tonnes of waste for every 28 grams of gold and produces 96 per cent of the world’s arsenic emissions.
Community representatives of affected indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea, Chile and Australia traveled great distances to come to Toronto last year to speak out against the world’s largest gold mining corporation, Barrick Gold, regarding their gold mining operations where they live.
khanzeb on June 30, 2015:
we should give an opportunity to our own university graduates and Pakistanies scientists to do work at Reko diq and process to bring out gold and copper for our country.we should send our Pakistani students to get education of gold mining,and come back here to work for country.Pakistan should take interest in metallurgy.
Abdur R Lodhi on February 15, 2015:
Please, do not expect anything good from our government in power.
I do not believe that people of Chiniot will get any benefit from this discovery. Wealth will not distributed evenly among the people of Pakistan. Many countries around the world are full of natural resources but they are most poor in the world.
Punjab and the whole Pakistan has got benefit from TARBELA DAM, but go and see the people who were displaced from their land, they live miserably in Khalabat Township. Tarbella is providing electricity to the whole country but people of Khalabat Township get electricity on hourly basis.There is not a single medical college, no university, no technical college and no employment opportunities for the displaced people. Royalty from Tarbella Dam is going either in the pocket of Ministers or spent elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinnce. Is anyone ready to leave the place of their forefathers, their graves and the land where they grew? We gave sacrifices but we are the most neglected in the Province. Our fertile land is under the water and no one care about us. I also remind our brothers in NWFP to resists Kalabagh Dam unless you are properly compensated not with money but future planning for your coming generations.
So people of Chiniot do not overjoy and do not get excited. This discovery will not change their lives.
kausen malik on February 12, 2015:
Please leaders of Pakistan
Do not take help with other countries
This is your all last chances but not least chance to serve your country peoles
email@example.com on July 05, 2014:
yesss, i found it. m sure these are valid information about my concerning topic. yes we are blessed with numerous resources.but unfortunately we've blessed thankless,selfish greedy donkey people too that dont want to see prosperity in our country... live long pakistan.
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on May 25, 2014:
iftikhar ud din on May 24, 2014:
we have vast resources of minerals and mining's why are we giving profit to foreign 1st of all we should to establish a mining's sciences university do you agree?
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on May 03, 2014:
nasratullah on April 30, 2014:
i think we all nations for saleAdd Your Comment...
sajid abbas on February 06, 2014:
There is faroud company is coming to pakistan for el 5 aurum fodienda Canadian base company they don't have any experience in mining there intension are to get this and sell for 500 millions us
shoukat ali on January 24, 2014:
AqilKhan on December 04, 2012:
Previous T. C.C. lucrative investment offer was based on mining and production of Copper Concentrate (28% pure Copper ore) which they wanted to carry via pipe line to Gawader port for exporting to smelters and refiners of the developed countries like USA, JAPAN, CHILE etc., where it were to be utilized to produce value added products (e.g. future extensive use of 99.99% pure Copper will be in the manufacturing of various components of hybrid motor vehicles).
Also the above T.C.C scheme of carrying the Concentrate to Gawader port, would have caused severe shortage of drinking and agricultural water in the already arid Balochistan and also unrecoverable environmental problems at Gawader Port which was also the violation of the international environmental law ( any scheme of depriving a nation from basic need of drinking and agricultural water, is challengeable in international court).
Any prospective investment offer should be based on setting the following steps wise integrated Copper mining and manufacturing Plants at mine mouth so that youth of the province could get maximum sustainable jobs and a rational share of the province to get maximum economic benefits of the resources.
Comprising of Mining, Grinding and Floatation process to produce Copper concentrate.
Comprising of Smelting, Converting, Anode refining and 99.99% LME A-grade copper Cathode production.
Acquiring the capability of producing 99.99% LME Grade pure Copper , would provide further opportunities to set the Copper based downstream industries in the country for a market of 180 millions Pakistanis and also for exports as shown below.
Comprising of few examples of downstream industries in India, Pakistan and worldwide.
The purpose of preparing videos (an extract of 80 videos) of steps wise Copper production by myself, was an attempt to demonstrate and make the Pakistanis understand how the Contractor’s lucrative investment scheme would have caused multi loses to Pakistanis which are once again summarized below.
-Depriving Pakistanis of acquiring a capability of becoming a self sufficient Industrial nation.
-Lose of thousands of Jobs and revenue generated by downstream industries.
- As there is no surface water available in Chagai, Kharan and surroumding areas of Balochistan, so the fresh drinking and agricultural water is obtained from earthen or Karez, underground water channels connected to open well system making the life sustainable. So any misuse of fresh water like scheme proposed by the contractor T.C.C. ,will create a worse draft of fresh water available in the area rapidly, in forth coming years.
- Instead of recycling of fresh water as the reputed mining companies do, T.C.C scheme is to continuously pump the underground fresh water and mixe with the ore to produce 28% Copper concentrate and waste in carrying the slurry bearing copper concentrate via pipe line from Reko Diq to Gawader port, where the ore was to be separated and the polluted water bearing metal tailings and chemicals, will be drained in coastal areas of Gawader port which would result in polluting the coastal waters, destroying marine livelihood resources such as fish and shrimp and the fishing business in forth coming years.
T.C.C. was given license only for geological estimation of Reko-Diq copper-gold reserves which has been completed. While they do not have mining and ore processing rights for which they insisted in the Supreme Court
T.C.C had started preparing feasibility of mining and Ore processing by their self for which they were not asked.
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on November 09, 2012:
Thanks Aqil for update!!! Yes it's really shocking. And this is why we are wasting our Natural Resources due to these cheap, poor politicians!!
AqilKhan on November 09, 2012:
The above remarks of Supreme Court of Pakistan had made me upset to think that how weakly the case was defended in Supreme Court. Please see my timely comments below, before the final decision of Court came.
(T.C.C. was given license only for geological estimation of Reko-Diq copper-gold reserves which has been completed. While they do not have mining and ore processing rights for which they insisted in the Supreme Court).
AqilKhan on November 08, 2012:
Please refer the following link which is comprised of discussions and suggestions posted on Facebook/Discussion Boards of Dunyanews,Geonews ARYnews and Expressnews etc. starting from Feb.2011 when the case was in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.This discussion and suggestions, were the attempt to raise the awareness about different stages of Copper Production without which Pakistanis would have lost their wealth as the Supreme Court was being misguided by the Contractor. I was woried when the Supreme Court had given the remarks and compared the Contract award with the price of SHIRTS. Please ignore typing mistakes.
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on October 27, 2012:
Yes Tehsin, Great Almighty Allah has blessed this country with a lot of resources, but due to poor leadership, lack of competencies, poor planning we haven't achieved anything so far. This soul is blessed with Gold, Huge Coal Resources, Salt, Oil, Gas & a lot more!!! But we are failed to accomplish what Allah has blessed this great country??? Why we look at others????? No one is sincere with Pakistan (Politicians etc etc)
Tehsin Shahzad on February 28, 2012:
I caught up on this issue juts few days back when suddenly my wide asked me if I knew we had large reserves of Gold in Pakistan and I asked how she came to know about it and she said it was on TV.
That instant I searched the net and read all about the issue. I just want to share my thoughts with a hope that they might be right and help some one high above the decision ladder see it as a right approach to solve the dilemma between our Govt. and foreign companies.
I feel if we in our country put up refinery at Gawadar where the Mining companies plan to terminate their tunnel for bringing the concentrate form mines to ship abroad as they plan on the plea that there is no refinery in Pakistan, we may justify our own claim that it must stay in Pakistan and be refined so we know exactly what is being taken out of the reserves and can evaluate our exact share in the refined product.. In fact I believe that if we put up small refineries in Quetta, and may be in other Provincial Capitals the whole produce of the concentrate can be distributed to these refineries and all the provinces can not only contribute but have a good share of employment opportunities for our own metallurgical graduates and labours. I am sure Pakistani's among us have capability to put up such refineries if given right incentive this will help to bring in foreign investment by Pakistanis and am sure contribute not only towards nation building but also in ensuring that we resolve this issue amicably with the foreign investors. Just a thought from a Pakistani. May we see the light and help build Pakistan. Ameen
Utrade on August 03, 2011:
In 1993, the Government of Balochistan signed an agreement with Australian BHP Billiton for joint exploration purposes. The new company setup, as a result of the agreement was called Tethyan Copper Company in which Government of Balochistan had 25% share. BHP Billiton sold its 75% share to Barrick Gold (a Canadian company) and Antofagasta PLC (a Chilean company) - 37% a piece. There are two important points to note here, which Faisel Naqvi has already mentioned in one of his pieces on the subject. One, the provincial government got a share in the exploration venture when normally governments in other countries suffice themselves to only royalties and taxes. Second, the 25% share of Balochistan government was agreed upon with the understanding that the government will not have to invest anything from its own treasury.
Last year TCC submited its feasibility report after spending US$220 million in exploration in a brief interval of 2006-10. The provincial government announced cancellation of exploration license of TCC and accused it of violating the terms. There has been no role, legally speaking, of the federal government whatsoever up to this point. It is also pertinent to mention here that although it's the prerogative of the Government of Balochistan to grant mining license to whichever company it wants, it is stated unequivocally in the Balochistan Mineral Rules (2002) that the investor will have exclusive rights of exploration with mining lease entitlement upon discovery of a viable resource.
Thinking on July 18, 2011:
This is a project where the wrong interests of Baluchistan Government, Pakistani Government, Baluchistan rebels, corporate greed, press and all the baddies come together, no one is making any noise at the theft of national treasure that can rid us of debt burden, change the fate of Baluch people, change the way we want to progress shame we are trying to sell the rights of coming generations of Pakistan
Zubair on May 25, 2011:
We should give oppurtunity to our university graduates for experimenting and finding alternative exploring techniques rather than foregin companies. Which i am sure exploite (and still exploiting by different names) our Pak. Second, company should spent on community and other stakeholders, for their benefits, infrastructure development and other contribution to society. Otherwise, We don`t need them, we will be happy if they leave us in this way.
rohit ingale on April 07, 2011:
gold and mines are hazardous to human lifes in today's world
afsah hassan on March 12, 2011:
can you tell us how the gold and copper is going to be MINED? please and thank you.
afsah hassan on March 12, 2011:
can you tell us how the gold and copper is going to MINED? pleas and thank you.
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on January 19, 2011:
Dear Hafiz Sb we are sharing our views here. I am not professional... By profession I am Banker
hafiz haddam on January 17, 2011:
sir i m a msc geology, and seeking a job in a minning company..please give me a chance to serve..please
atifhameed (author) from Islamabad, Pakistan on November 14, 2010:
You are very much right "One man can change the world if enough other men join him." But the thing is we don't have much resources to do so :(
someonewhoknows from south and west of canada,north of ohio on November 13, 2010:
Personally, I believe everything you have said here is the truth! It,is my opinion that the earths mineral resources should not be owned by any Individual or group of Individuals.The cost of mining such minerals in the form of machinery,labor,management etc..plus a reasonable profit to be used to make capital Improvements is the proper way to conduct business.
As for poisioning,you are absolutely right.
Concerning lawlessness,there is an old and unfortunately a true and phophetic saying; "Those who own the Gold rule".
I do not condone what is going on and If ,It were within my power to stop it I would.One man can change the world if enough other men join him.