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Barrick gold dig under press scrutiny

by Ahmar MustikhanThe Baltimore Examiner
December 25th, 2010

The world's largest gold mining corporation has received another setback when a former chief minister of Balochistan asked foreign companies to pullout of Balochistan and said the natural resources of Balochistan has to be preserved for the future generations.

Barrick Gold Corporation allegedly entered the $226 billion dollar project through the backdoor during the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf with the help of major Obama campaign contributor and self-styled philanthropist Muslim Lakhani.

The way ownership changed hands, licenses obtained and no objection certificates were granted during the military regime of former coup plotter General (retired) Pervez Musharraf have remained controversial for many years now.

Lakhani, who is now associated with the Atlantic Council and Woodrow Wilson Center, left Pakistan and arrived in the U.S. after a court battle started over the legality of handing over the project to Barrick Gold Corporation.

Talking to newsmen, former chief minister Sardar Ataullah Mengal asked the U.S. and Singapore not to enter with Islamabad in any deals that pertain to Balochistan, Daily Intekhab reported.

Mengal said this after meeting with Usman Advocate, who is chair of the standing committee on tourism as a member of the Pakistan's national assembly. Usman Advocate, who was in Toronto last year, has officially joined the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Pakistan news reports bare that the Barrick gold mines have been sold for a song and that even the two different resource deposits have not been cited by Barrick and its its joint subsidiary with another mining giant Antofagasta of Chile named Tethyan Copper Company.

“Companies involved in Reko Diq and Saindak must withdraw from any agreements they have made with the government,” Mengal was cited in Daily Intekhab as saying.

Mengal's statement came in the backdrop of media reports that senior Barrick gold officials are feverishly lobbying in Islamabad to get the gold exploration rights that were canceled by Balochistan chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani earlier this year.

Baloch sarmachars, or guerillas fighting for an independent Balochistan, also already warned Barrick Gold to withdraw from Balochistan or face attacks. Last week, a party that represents the lower middle class in Balochistan called the Balochistan National Movement condemned China for inking accords with Islamabad over the heads of Baloch people.

In this attached video report, the reporter is expressing his concern over the irregularities in which the project was awarded to Barrick without proper bidding.

Some highly dedicated journalists are following each and every move involving Barrick in Balochistan.

see video here: http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-baltimore/reko-diq-video

 

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