ISLAMABAD  - Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday quizzed a counsel for Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for his claims of vested interests in award of mining lease for exploration of precious minerals resources in Reko Diq area of Balochistan province. Heading a three-member bench over the pending issue of award of mining lease for gold and copper reserves, the Chief Justice asked Khalid Anwar, counsel for TCC, as to how the Balochistan High Court could state that the company had vested rights. He observed that there could be no vested rights for any particular company, only those rights which were subjected to laws. "What matters for court is the law of the land," he added. He told the counsel that judgment of the licensing authority was not impugned before the court.Khalid Anwar contended that the BHC verdict was in his favour which had two vital components.He said that the verdict did not hold anywhere that the mineral wealth of the province was wasted and pleaded that the court could not settle the questions of facts. The counsel further said that the Chief Minister of Balochistan could not take the decision over the issue by terming it as a policy issue.The CJ reminded him that the Chagi Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) was an agreement between the parties which was not statutory and what mattered them was the rules. He said the current Chief Minister was not on the scene during 2006. The licencing authority did not mention anything in its order that it was provincial Cabinet's decision, he added. Replying to a query of Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed, the counsel said that they had dispute with both the Federal and provincial governments.He contended that all the allegations made about CHEJVA and relaxation of rules were directed against the BHP, its predecessor company and not against the TCCP. He said that TCCP was not in existence when relaxation of rules took place on January, 24, 1994. The Chief Justice supplemented him by saying that he wanted to establish that TCC had an independent stance and had nothing to do with all this. He told him that if it was his stance then why he was undertaking a long exercise of reading out volumes of papers for the last two weeks. The counsel apprised the bench that total sales value of the venture was $56 billion and the operating cost was $25 billion. He said the initial investment stood around $3.3 billion whereas $2.7 billion were also required for maintenance  of the mines. He maintained that $8 billion would go to Government of Pakistan in taxes. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed observed that the mineral wealth of a country belonged to that very country. Further hearing was adjourned till Tuesday (today).