ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday, while expressing concern over the Reko Diq gold and copper exploration project observed that the contract was awarded to the TCC in 1999 but till 1998 it had drilled upto 20,000 meters. Justice Khalil-ur-Rahman Ramday during the proceedings inquired, The contract was awarded to the company in 1999 but under which law the company drilled upto 20,000 meters by July 1998. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary observed that there was no permission under law regarding such contracts with foreign companies. Advocated General, Balochistan, Salahuddin Mengal, informed that in 1993 the Balochistan Development Authority, which was the joint partner of BHP Australia, had applied for exploration prospecting licence. Justice Ramday said that as the BHP was a foreign company, therefore, you applied on their behalf. He asked at the time of submitting application, did you disclose that BHP was a foreign firm. A four-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary and comprising Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Kahlil-ur-Rahman Ramday heard the petitions filed by 26 Senators. During the course of hearing, the applicants counsel Raza Kazam pleaded the court has to examine and declare whether the contract was valid or not. And if the contract was against the set rules and regulations then the officials who were responsible of the contract may be pointed out, he added. The Chief Justice said, We are sorry to say that the government of Balochistan was not taking interest in the case. He directed Ahmad Bakhsh Lehri, Chief Secretary, Balochistan, to look into the case regarding award of a contract to the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) allowing it to explore gold and copper deposits in the province. Further hearing was adjourned till today.