ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the BHP, an internal exploration company, that it had to satisfy the court about the legality of relaxing mineral rules for exploration of copper and gold at Reko Diq. A four-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Mohammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, was hearing various petitions against leasing of Reko Diq gold and copper mines in Balochistan to foreign exploration and mining companies in violation of law. The hearing of the petitions has been continued for the last so many days and is likely to continue further during the coming days as well. The whole case is before the court, arising out of a judgement passed by Balochistan High Court, challenged in CPLA No. 796 of 2007, and petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution along with the applications of the interveners. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for BHP, told that company first entered into Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Balochistan Development Authority for the exploration of copper and gold but later asked the Balochistan government to relax the rules. Justice Ramday said it meant whatever was written in the agreement was not in consonance with the law. The learned counsel replied that contract was fully conformed by his client. Pirzada briefed the court about the JVA and the events that took place subsequently. He said the BHP in no way was related to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) and Barrick Gold, as one was Chilean and another was Canadian company. He informed when BHP sold its shares to TCC and Barrick Gold at $260 million, they paid $16.5 million as tax to the government of Pakistan. Justice Ramday asked if whatever done by the Balochistan government was in the public interest and there was no cheating with the people of Pakistan and it would not happen in future as well. The case was adjourned till 22nd February 2011.