ISLAMABAD  - The Pakistani legal team which appeared before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the TCC claim over billions of dollars Reko Diq copper and gold reserves believes it has achieved strategic objective of unlocking 14 deposits.

Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) had challenged the decisions of Pakistan’s apex court and Balochistan government in ICSID. However, the ICSID after hearing the arguments of Pakistan legal team and counsels of TCC reserved the judgment, which would be announced in 4 to 5 months, sources told The Nation.

The ICSID decision will be binding on both sides. However, they have the option of reaching a mutually-negotiated settlement. There are possibilities that a negotiated settlement is reached before the ICSID issues its verdict.

Cherie Blair, wife of Britain's ex-PM Tony Blair, Graham Dunning QC and Ahmer Bilal Soofi represented the federal government and the provincial government of Balochistan, while former Attorney General for Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan and Danawon, represented the TCC before the ICSID.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Maalik, Chief Secretary (CS) Balochistan and Attorney General visited London and attended ICSID proceedings. The CM and the CS Balochistan remained present in the court throughout the entire proceedings, sources said.

Former Chief Secretaries Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad and Ahmed Baksh Lehri, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Federal Director General Minerals Irshad Khokhar, former Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani were the witnesses of Pakistan and Balochistan governments in the case. The TCC counsels cross-examined the Pakistani witnesses for two weeks.

Tethyan is seeking to develop the Reko Diq copper-gold deposit in the Chagai Hills of Balochistan in south-west Pakistan. Tethyan has held a 75 per cent interest in an exploration licence encompassing the Reko Diq deposit, with the Government of Balochistan (the provincial authority) holding the remaining 25% interest.

On 15 November 2011 the Balochistan government had rejected its application for a mining lease. Tethyan has commenced two international arbitrations in order to protect its legal rights.

However, TCC has lost its case on 'Interim Measures' both in jurisdiction of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

In 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan already declared the Reko Diq agreement void after hearing identical petitions for Reko Diq mining lease. The Supreme Court of Pakistan stated that the TCC no longer had any rights in relation to the Reko Diq agreement.

The apex court had also declared invalid the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA), the initial 1993 exploration agreement between the Balochistan government and Australian mining group BHP from whom TCC had purchased Reko Diq exploration rights.

In May 2013 Tethyan announced that it had withdrawn its request for 'specific performance/ mining license' in both international arbitrations (ICC & ICSID) and now only seeking claims for monetary damages, including lost profits for the mining operations.