Tethyan Cooper Company (TCC) has approached the British Virgin Island’s high court for the enforcement of the $5.97 billion award against Pakistan by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in the Reko Diq case.
Earlier on November 20, the company had moved the high court for the enforcement of the award which includes attachment of the assets belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines Investment Ltd (PIAIL) — a company which is also incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
Then, on December 16, the Virgin Islands high court passed an ex parte order regarding the attachment of Pakistani institutions’ assets, barring Pakistan from selling these assets.
However, the Attorney General for Pakistan’s (AGP) office has assured that the country is vigorously contesting these proceedings using all available legal resources while the government is also working on settling the matter amicably.
“Without prejudice to such engagements, Pakistan has reiterated that the government will vigorously pursue proceedings initiated by the company in any jurisdiction and the government reaffirms its commitment to protecting national assets wherever they may be located,” a statement by the AGP’s office said.
In July 2019, an ICSID Tribunal granted an award of nearly $6 billion against Pakistan for denying a mining lease to an Australian company, Tethyan Copper Company (TCC).
Immediately thereafter, TCC commenced proceedings for the enforcement of the award. In November 2019, Pakistan challenged the penalty and initiated proceedings seeking its annulment.
Reko Diq town in Balochistan’s Chagai district is famed for its mineral wealth, including gold and copper. The incumbent government considers it a strategic national asset, though instead of yielding a bonanza the Reko Diq mining project may cost the country dearly.
The World Bank’s ICSID is currently considering Pakistan’s appeal against enforcing the penalty over its cancellation of the Reko Diq mining lease for Tethyan Copper Corp, a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold Corp of Australia and Antofagasto PLC of Chile.