Reko Diq Tough times ahead

Naseebullah Khan
After a decade of confrontation the Reqodik will start functioning from 14th August 2022. This was announced in a news conference of chief minister of Balochistan Abdul Qadis Bizenjo and the CEO of Berrick company Mark Bristow 8n Quetta. The CM said, that Balochistan will get benefit of 1 billion USD annually and from the project 7500 people will get jobs. Mark Bristow who had sought legal guarantee of review of Supreme court that had declared the agreement null and void in 2013 and legal cover of the parliament said that initially, 7 billion USD will be invested on the basis of equall spending of the company, Pakistan federal government and Balochistan government. He hoped that the project will started processing by 2028 and in first phase it will process 40 million ton Ore per annum which will be doubled in next five years. Bristow hoped that the life of Reqo dik will be at least 40 years. He also reiterayed his commitment of social security and said that around 70 million dollar over the construction period will be spent on healthcare, education, vocational institutions, and water facilities in the area. As i had mentioned in my previous opinion about the project that was published in monthly Bolan voice magazine,s April edition; 1. Will an refinary be established or Barrick will export the minerals as raw material abroad? 2. What will be the process of extraction, its estimation and revenue? These questions are still unanswered. Mr. Mahfooz Ali Khan the ex finance minister of Balochistan while discussing with the author pointed out many questions and observed that, it will take years before production and much longer in processing. He further said that it is much bigger in size and complete deployment, building of infrastructure, procurement of machinery and manpower will take at least three to five years, even at fastest. Mr. Mahfooz Ali Khan further compared it with Saindaq project and said that, in Saindak thousands are working including expatriate workers. It many time bigger with four pits completed. Around 50 thousand will be needed initially. Currently that site is not having such facilities. In Saindak, much much smaller in size manpower is as follows 276 Chinese and 1840 pakistani. These concerns demands serious attentions. Will the company be in a position to arrange thousands of workers and expertise? Will the Ore processing start by 2028 as said by company CEO Bristow? The litmus test is ahead.

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