Belfast Telegraph

London-listed copper miner wins six billion dollar legal battle with Pakistan

Antofagasta has been battling the Pakistan government for seven years over a decision to block the company from opening a mine in the country.

Antofagasta, a Chilean mining company, has won a seven year battle with the Pakistan government (Antofagasta/PA)
Antofagasta, a Chilean mining company, has won a seven year battle with the Pakistan government (Antofagasta/PA)

London-listed Chilean-focused miner Antofagasta has won a seven-year legal battle with the Pakistan government.

The company has been awarded almost six billion dollars (£4.8 billion) when the World Bank international arbitration tribunal ruled on Saturday that Pakistan was wrong to block a mining lease for a copper mine in the country.

Shares in Antofagasta jumped 4.4% to 900.6p following the news, which was announced on Monday, but there were warnings that the joint venture, with Tethyan Copper Company and Canada’s Barrick Gold, may struggle to get the money from the country.

Analysts at Investec said: “This is positive news for Antofagasta on an all but forgotten project, but one that obviously cannot be fully relied on until the money is in the bank.”

Tethyan was unexpectedly denied a mining lease for the Reko Diq project, one of the world’s biggest undeveloped copper and gold projects, in 2011 following protests from locals.

The tribunal ruled that it was unlawful to deny the lease, and four billion dollars of the payout relates to the value of the project and lost interest.

Tethyan chairman William Hayes said: “We remain willing to discuss the potential for a negotiated settlement with Pakistan and will continue to protect our commercial interests and legal rights until the conclusion of this dispute.”

Pakistan said it was disappointed but would be willing to continue discussions.

A spokesman said: “The government of Pakistan welcomes this approach to work towards a mutually beneficial solution that works for both sides.”

PA

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