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Reko Diq Case: World Bank Court Orders Pakistan To Pay $5.8b Damages

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A World Bank arbitration court has ordered Pakistan to pay damages of $5.8 billion to Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta Plc and Canada’s Barrick Gold, the Chilean miner said.

Tethyan Copper discovered vast mineral wealth more than a decade ago in Reko Diq. The deposit was set to rank among the world’s biggest untapped copper and gold mines.

The company said it had invested more than $220 million by the time Pakistan’s government, in 2011, unexpectedly refused to grant them the mining lease needed to keep operating.

The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled against Pakistan in 2017, but until now had yet to determine the damages owed to Tethyan.

Tethyan board chair William Hayes said in a statement the company was still “willing to strike a deal with Pakistan,” but added that “it would continue protecting its commercial and legal interests until the dispute was over.”

On the other hand, The Express Tribune reported that the international tribunal issued a 700-page ruling against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case, according to which, the ICSID awarded a $4.08 billion penalty and $1.87 billion in interest. However, Pakistan has decided to challenge the award “very soon” by filing a revision application, sources said. The revision application may take two to three years to decide.

Earlier, Tethyan had claimed $11.43 billion in damages. In 2012, it filed claims for international arbitration before the ICSID of the World Bank after the Balochistan government turned down a leasing request from the company. The litigation has continued for seven years.

Former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s verdict in the Reko Diq case was the first in a series of events that led to the massive award.

After the case was filed, Pakistan lost its first jurisdictional challenge, when the international tribunal said that it has the jurisdiction to adjudicate the Reko Diq matter.

After that, the tribunal declared that there was no wrongdoing in the agreement – the grounds on which the Supreme Court of Pakistan terminated the deal in 2013 – and eventually, the tribunal held that Pakistan is liable to pay the damages.

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Naya Daur