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Representative Image. (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Representative Image. (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Chinese firms reap profits from mines in Balochistan, locals deprived of benefits

ANI | Updated: Jan 06, 2023 23:34 IST

Balochistan [Pakistan], January 6 (ANI): Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan holds rich resources which produce maximum profit for the Chinese company that mines gold, silver, and copper in that province but the residents are being deprived from it, The China Project reported.
According to The China Project, the Chinese company, Metallurgical Construction Corp (MCC), which mines gold, silver, and copper in Balochistan province made a profit of around USD 75 million in 2021.
Copper and gold deposits were initially discovered near Saindak in the 1970s by Saindak Metals Ltd (SML) -- a company wholly owned by the government of Pakistan -- in collaboration with an engineering firm from China. In 1995, Pakistan and China signed a formal contract worth USD 350 million for the development of the mine, initially a 10-year lease to Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd. (MCC), a subsidiary of China Metallurgical Group Corporation.
Balochistan province turned out to be an ATM for Chinese companies but it still remains an impoverished region with a per capita GDP under USD 1,000, which means that the residents are getting nothing. Under the agreement signed in 1995, 46-48 per cent of revenue was given to MCC, 53 per cent to the Pakistan Government, and 5-6.5 per cent to the Balochistan provincial government.
The Chinese government maintains that the benefits to the Pakistanis are significant. He Xuping, the general manager of MCC, said in a January press release that the has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide clean water to the area, as well as arranging free electricity and improvements to schools.

However, Kazim Baloch, a political activist in Chagai told The China Project that the area still has "features of the medieval era".
"Mud houses, muddy and unpaved roads, a lack of potable water, poverty, deprivation, underdevelopment and backwardness still rule," said Baloch.
Meanwhile, speaking about the issue, the Pakistani government official said that the mine had created over 2,000 jobs and has helped to pay for a hospital which uses ultrasound, X-ray machines and other advanced equipment.
But the reality is different. The China Project reported that Akbar Notezai, an investigative journalist from Chagai associated with Pakistan's leading media group Dawn recently published a report which said that the jobs created for local people are "menial" and the overall situation in the region is "pitiable."
"Despite extracting gold and copper for two decades, why has the administration not yet constructed a metalled road? There are roads that lead to the company's sites, but many villages are left without any roads." Notezai told the China Project.
These shallow and fake promises from China and the Pakistani government fuelled frustration among the activists from Balochistan province.
Jan Muhammed Baloch, a political analyst pointed out that separatist groups are waging war against the state for an independent Balochistan and want to force the Chinese out of the province. Baloch says the national government cannot accept such a demand, given the close political ties between China and Pakistan. (ANI)