ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought copies of Reko Diq mining lease agreement from Balochistan government to ascertain legality of the contract between Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA), BHP and Balochistan Development Authority.

Heading a three-judge bench, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of Reko Diq case and directed Khalid Anwar, counsel for Tethyan Copper Company Pakistan (TCCP) to conclude his arguments till Wednesday (today).

The bench was hearing identical petitions filed against the federal government’s decision to lease out gold and copper mines in Reko Diq in Balochistan’s Chagai district to foreign companies. Resuming his arguments, Khalid Anwar questioned the new agreement over the Reko Diq mining lease signed between BHP and Balochistan government in 2000 saying original deal was signed between Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) and BHP in 1993.

He informed the court that as many as 10 prospecting licences were issued to BHP and repeated that TCCP had spent millions of dollars for feasibility report on the Reko Diq project.

Anwar told the court that his client was barred from digging the Koh-e-Sultan on July 5, 1999, adding that according to agreement maximum area of 44,000 sq kilometers had to be given to TCCP to maximize its scope of discovery.

He also pleaded that no proficient engineer was available in Pakistan to handle the Reko Diq mining lease operation so his client paid a huge amount to the foreign engineers.

“But results are discouraging,” Anwar said.

Upon which top legal officer of the province, Amanullah Kanrani, contended that BHP had submitted feasibility report of six kilometers instead of 600 kilometers of the project in 2008.

The bench adjourned hearing of the case till Wednesday (today).