Barrick Gold set to resume work on world’s largest copper-gold project Reko Diq

Canadian miners Barrick Gold Corporation on Thursday said that it has completed the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project after the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave a favorable opinion and the required legislation were passed into law.

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In a statements released on Thursday, by the company and the Balochistan government, an accord was signed between the Pakistan government and the company. An official representing the company, a representative of the federal government and a Balochistan government representative signed the accord.

As a result, Pakistan will see investment of upwards of $8 billion while it will also stave off a penalty of around $11 billion imposed on Pakistan.

Reko Diq is owned 50% by Barrick Gold, 25% by three federally state-owned enterprises, 15% by the Province of Balochistan on a fully funded basis and 10% by the Province of Balochistan on a free carried basis.

Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the completion of the legal processes was a key step in progressing the development of Reko Diq into a world-class, long-life mine.

“We are currently updating the project’s 2010 feasibility and 2011 feasibility expansion studies. This should be completed by 2024, with 2028 targeted for first production,” Bristow said.

“With its unique combination of large scale, low strip and good grade, Reko Diq is expected to have a life of at least 40 years,” he said, adding that they foresee a truck-and-shovel open pit operation with processing facilities for producing a high-quality copper-gold concentrate.

This processing facility is expected to be constructed in two phases with a combined process capacity of 80 million tons per annum.



Reko Diq and Pakistan’s economy

Reko Diq will be a major contributor to Pakistan’s economy which is expected to have a transformative impact on the underdeveloped Balochistan province where, in addition to the economic benefits it will generate, the mine will also create jobs, promote the growth of a regional economy and invest in development programs.

The province’s interest in the mine will be fully funded, which means that Balochistan will reap the dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25% shareholding without having to contribute financially to its construction and operation.

“Reko Diq’s ownership structure is a further manifestation of Barrick’s commitment to partnership with its host countries and communities and to sharing the value our operations create fairly with all our stakeholders,” Bristow said.

“We’re making sure that Balochistan and its people will see these benefits quickly. Starting early next year, Barrick will implement a range of social development programs prioritizing the improvement of healthcare, education, vocational training, food security and the provision of potable water. Our investment in these is expected to amount to around $70 million over the feasibility and construction period. In addition, Reko Diq will advance royalties to the government of Balochistan of up to $50 million until commercial production starts.”

Reko Dig Project Jobs

During peak construction the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and once in production it will create around 4,000 long-term jobs. As elsewhere in the group, Barrick prioritizes the employment of local people and host country nationals.

Bristow said Barrick already had the industry’s best gold assets and the addition of Reko Diq would promote its copper portfolio into the world-class league, accelerating the company towards its goal of creating the world’s most valued gold and copper mining business.

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