Tethyan Copper Company, which is jointly owned by Chilean copper miner Antofagasta and Canadian miner Barrick Gold, has received a knock-back on a mining lease application in Pakistan.
The government of the Pakistani province of Balochistan has rejected the application submitted by a Tethyan subsidiary for a mining lease to cover an area including the copper-gold deposit at Reko Diq, a small town in the Chagai district of Balochistan.
The mining application was made back in February, but the government of Balochistan took the case to the country's Supreme Court, citing concerns over how equitably the income generated from exploiting the assets will be distributed.
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Tethyan Copper responded by filing a Notice of Dispute under the terms of the Chagai Hills Joint Venture Agreement which allows for a 120 day period during which Tethyan and the Government of Balochistan may seek to resolve the dispute.
Reko Diq holds an estimated 5.9bn tonnes of mineral resources, including 12.5m tons of copper and 20.9m ounces of gold (inferred and indicated resources). The exploration licence for Reko Diq was bought by Tethyan from BHP Billiton for $200m in 2006.
Tethyan said it is now considering its options for further courses of action.
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