ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday called details of Mincor Resources NL’s document through which the BHP formed an alliance with the Tethyan Cooper Company (TCC) to explore gold and copper resources in Reko Diq area of Balochistan’s Chagai district.

As a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed resumed the hearing of the Reko Diq case in response to identical petitions filed by Maulana Abdul Haque Baloch and others, Khalid Anwar, the counsel for the TCC, informed that Australia’s TCC was registered in Pakistan in 2007 and that the company only entered an agreement in 2002.

It has been reported that the Mincor Resources NL progressed its African and Pacific Rim gold projects and developed an alliance with the BHP for the development of copper resources in Reko Diq area in Pakistan in 2000. The alliance was moved to a newly-created subsidiary, the Tethyan Copper Company Limited.

During the proceedings, the counsel told the bench that the exemption granted to the TCC was extended even after the passage of seven years.

Justice Gulzar Ahmad inquired of the counsel if the Balochistan government had approved the merger between the TCC and the US-based BHP, observing that the TCC did not seem to be a direct party to the Reko Diq mines exploration agreement.

When Khalid Anwar said his client had entered the agreement as a representative of the Mincor Resources NL on October 24, 2000, Justice Chaudhry remarked that an agent company had no absolute power of the principal company under the law because it had certain limits to function. Upon this, the counsel argued that the Balochistan government would not pay a single penny, but would receive 52 per cent of the total profit of the Reko Diq mining lease.

But Justice Chaudhry said, “The court is looking at all aspects of the instant matter broad-mindedly.”

He also said to the counsel that constitutionally, any foreign company was bound to observe the local laws, adding that the TCC should have to appeal against cancellation of its mining lease license in the local courts which might allow granting the license.

Upon this, Khalid Anwar, while submitting that he had been defending his client in the current case, instead of requesting for the grant the licence, contended that the appeals were non-maintainable. The bench, while adjourning the hearing, instructed the counsel to complete his arguments by December 03, date for the next hearing.