Pakistan holds summit to woo foreign investors

Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Syed Asim Munir, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, led the country’s first summit on minerals, signalling the nation’s ambition to leverage its estimated $6 trillion worth of untapped mineral wealth. The event, held in Islamabad, saw the presence of foreign investors, diplomats, and key figures from the industry.

The Special Investment Facilitation Council, established in June with the aim to attract foreign investment, organised the summit. Notably, the Pakistan military has been assigned a pivotal role in the council and will be actively involved in all projects under the new framework.

During his address, Gen. Syed Asim Munir emphasised that the vision for Pakistan’s mining industry goes beyond mere financial gains. He reassured foreign investors that federal and provincial governments, along with the country’s security forces, are united in their commitment to providing secure investment opportunities.

“We view foreign investors as an integral part of our mining and mineral projects, and their investments will be safeguarded under the Special Investment Facilitation Council. We are determined to establish an investor-friendly system that streamlines processes and provides favourable conditions,” stated the army chief.

He further expressed that Pakistan offers vast opportunities for exploration and pledged to ensure that these opportunities are fully realised through collaborative efforts.

The summit comes after past obstacles, with the Supreme Court of Pakistan previously blocking a joint venture for developing Reko Diq, one of the world’s largest untapped copper and gold deposits. The court case revolved around concerns over the contract’s awarding. Subsequently, Pakistan was ordered by a global arbitration body to pay $5.8 billion in damages to Tethyan Copper. The dispute finally reached resolution last year when Barrick Gold stepped in and agreed to develop gold and copper mining projects under a new agreement.

In his speech, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged Pakistan to learn from past experiences and look to Middle Eastern countries for inspiration. Countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have successfully strengthened their economies by harnessing their mineral wealth, primarily oil and gas resources. Sharif encouraged Pakistan to transform its abundant mineral resources into opportunities for progress and prosperity.

Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer, Saudi Arabia’s vice minister for mining affairs at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, also attended the summit. He expressed the Kingdom’s desire to foster a responsible mineral value chain in Pakistan, signalling support for joint efforts to unlock the full potential of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the region’s mineral sector.

The summit marks a significant milestone in Pakistan’s efforts to attract foreign investment and tap into its vast mineral riches. With the backing of the Special Investment Facilitation Council and increasing interest from foreign investors, Pakistan aspires to emulate the success stories of other mineral-rich nations and pave the way for economic prosperity and sustainable growth.

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