KARACHI - The foreign investor working on $3.3 billion dollar Reko Diq Copper Project in Balochistan is following the international standards set by the World Bank for environment impact assessment of the project. This was informed by Lucas Hekma, Manager Environment Impact Assessment of Tethyan Copper Company, at a workshop titled Journalism for sustainable development: tools and teaching for effective environmental journalism held at local hotel on Saturday. The event was organized by Lead and environmentalists and media men from different cities of the country participated in it. Giving his presentation on environment impact assessment of Reko Diq project, Lucas Hekma told the participants of the workshop that feasibility of the environment impact assessment of this multi billion dollars project has been completed, showing no human population will affect due to the project. He said that international standards set by World Bank and other international organization have been followed in environment impact assessment of the project, adding that all aspect to avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate adverse impacts of the project has been taken fully in feasibility study of environment impact assessment. He claimed that archeological sites and ecology of the area will not affect due to the project as all the possible measures are part of the environment assessment study. Though, the pipeline spread on long area of 670kms designed in such a way to avoid communities, farmlands and archeological sites, but some communities wills likely affect temporarily due to construction work, however, we have started dialogue with them to avoid them from noise disturbance, he said. He informed that Reko Diq Copper project will contribute one percent growth in Balochistans GDP annually, besides exports of this project will narrow national trade deficit to 5% annually. Meanwhile, Samia Ali Shah Manager Public Relations of Tethyan Cooper Company in her presentation said that exploration of copper and gold has been completed in the area spread on 435 square kilometers allotted to the company, showing 5.9 billion tons mineral resources in it. Out of which, 2.2 billion tons copper is mine able, besides a huge quantity of gold reserves in it. Under the project, the company will explore 6 lac tons copper and gold from the Chagi area annually, she said. She pointed out that negotiations with Balochistan and federal government are under way for second phase of the project. Under the agreement signed between foreign company and provincial company in 1993, the 25% profit of the copper and gold will go to the Balochistan province, while 75% will be kept by foreign company, which starting risk investment of $3.3 billion dollars (Rs272 billion Pak rupees) on project, she noted. The construction phase of Reko Diq copper project will start within next 3 to 4 years, while operations of the project will start during next 56 years, she added. She disclosed that a huge amount of $200 million dollars has been spent on project, so far. She further said that 150MW electricity requires for the project. The company is committed to invest $10 million dollars on social development of area annually, she said, besides a huge number of 10,000 local people will recruited on project, out which 25,000 will get permanent employee. On this occasion, Afia Salam of LEAD highlighted the role of media regarding environment reporting, while geologist/mining specialist Dr. Sajid Hussain and Rafi ul Haq of IUC also shared their views. It may be noted that Sindh government was not following the international standards in environment impact assessment as World Bank and other international investors have already asked the Sindh government to review the existing environmental laws pertaining to large scale open cast as well as underground coal mine operations at Thar coalfield and other area of the province.