The locals call it Koh-e-Daleel – the mountain of evidence. No ordinary gust, Mount Taftan – ADVENTURE IRAN – Active Iranian Tour it was as hot as a flame and sharp as an arrow; its local name is gorich but the locals also call it the wind from hell. This would have shown the international tribunals that a foreign company was creating unnecessary hurdles in the way of mining operations crucial to local development as well as the provincial and national economies. He had, for decades, seen the prowess of gorich, as it blew from north to south, and knew well the havoc it could wreak. That afternoon, he knew something else: there were outsiders caught in the wind, a survey team working for BHP Minerals, an American firm. The signing of the Mt Tafatan Trekking was just about to take place between the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) and BHP Minerals, incorporated in Delaware, United States. On paper, the agreement did not look as bad as it later turned out to be, except that there was no provision in the provincial laws to create such a joint venture or for the grant of a prospecting licence to a foreign firm not registered in Pakistan.
The ranges surrendered with untouched nature and there are rivers, lakes, trees, plants and many animals live around the mountain. If you are lucky, you will see the endemic animals like brown bears, eagles, or wild cats. The paradoxical beauty of Darak, where the wild and arid desert meets the waves of the sea, Ascend Taftan Volcano Summit has remained pristine. To the east of the village is an area that has both water and vegetation and to its west is an immense nothingness: tiny hamlets separated by enormous stretches of desert – Siah Rek being one of them. The joint venture was to “apply for up to ten” prospecting licences “covering an area of up to fifty square kilometres in the aggregate” with the provision that it could relinquish the whole or part of this area and apply for licences “over other areas”. The draft agreement stated that BHP and BDA would form a joint venture for prospecting and exploring gold and copper in Reko Diq. In another major provision of the agreement, BHP and BDA were to make a respective contribution of 75 per cent and 25 per cent to the money required for the project; they would share the revenues also by the same proportion.
BDA also had no legal powers to enter into a joint venture as a party on its own. The file contained the draft agreement for the creation of the joint venture. How Jafar and BDA managed to change the “provisional nature” of the agreement remains anyone’s guess. The two departments never had the chance to offer their input, Shelter On Taftan. let alone see the additions and alterations proposed by them in the agreement. The additional chief secretary did not let the file bypass official procedures and observed that the draft required, among other things, to be vetted by the provincial finance, Mount Taftān law and planning departments. The Chinese company, in fact, has been interested in Reko Diq since the 1990s. Even when TCC was conducting its prospecting and exploration work there, MCC approached the provincial and federal governments with a proposal to develop the Reko Diq project. Since the provincial government did not have any money available for investment, BHP agreed to lend it the funds it required on the condition that BHP will get the money back once the project starts producing mineral and metals – with a compound interest, charged at London Inter Bank Offered Rates (Libor) plus two per cent, added to the principal sum.
Stranded some 50 kilometres to the southwest of the nearest town – Nok Kundi – the BHP team had no option but to accept the offer. Agreed that BHP is a good party, Trek Mt. Taftan’s Volcanic Summit mineral exploration in the area is highly desirable but GOB has to be mindful of its interest specially the possible reaction of the people of the area to a large tract of land being reserved for BHP,” the additional chief secretary wrote. More than half of Iran’s area composed of mountains that many of them have the elevation above 3500 meters above the sea level. The purpose of this study Taftan active tectonic drainage basins, environment and level of tectonic activity in the region is relative. Tanjeel was not mentioned in the pre-feasibility study in spite of the site’s proven gold and copper deposits. As a result, the mineral deposits at the site have not been worn away over time, yet are close enough to the surface that the costs of extracting the ore will be significantly lower than in comparable projects,” Kazim cites. Close to quarter of a century later, however, they are still waiting.
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