Pakistan says no to Antofagasta

Pakistan's Baluchistan province has rejected a mining lease application from Chilean copper producer Antofagasta and Canada's Barrick Gold, raising questions over the future of their Reko Diq copper-gold project.

The mining lease application, for an area including the Reko Diq deposit, was submitted in February.

Reko Diq holds an estimated 5.9 billion tonnes of mineral resources, including copper and gold. The pair spent $200m in 2006 buying the exploration licence from rival BHP Billiton. Construction had been expected to cost more than $3bn.

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