Pakistan attracts $7 billion foreign investment project
Barrick Gold, a Canadian mining company, has plans to invest $7 billion in the Reko Diq mine over the next ten years.
This was revealed during a recent meeting between the Federal Minister of Finance, Miftah Ismail, and Barrick President and Chief Executive, Mark Bristow.
The company will invest $4 billion in the first four years and $3 billion in the next 6 years, according to the CEO of the company.
During the meeting, both parties shared a clear vision of the national strategic importance of the Reko Diq copper-gold project and were committed to developing it as a world-class mine that would create value for the country and its people through multiple generations.
Reko Diq is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. An agreement in principle reached between the government of Pakistan, the provincial government of Balochistan, and Barrick Gold earlier this year provides for the reconstitution and restart of the project, which has been on hold since 2011. It will be operated by Barrick and owned 50 percent by Barrick, 25 percent by the Balochistan Government, and 25 percent by Pakistani state-owned enterprises.
The definitive agreements underlying the framework agreement are currently being finalized by teams from Barrick and Pakistan. Once this has been completed and the necessary legalization steps have been taken, Barrick will update the original feasibility study, a process expected to take two years. Construction of the first phase will follow that, with the first production of copper and gold expected in 2027/2028.
“During the negotiations the federal government and Barrick confirmed that Balochistan and its people should receive their fair share of the benefits as part of the Pakistan ownership group,” Bristow said.
“At Barrick we know that our long-term success depends on sharing the benefits we create equitably with our host governments and communities. At Reko Diq, Balochistan’s shareholding will be fully funded by the project and the Federal Government, allowing the province to reap the dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25 percent ownership without having to contribute financially to the project’s construction or operation. It’s equally important that Balochistan and its people should see these benefits from day one. Even before construction starts, when the legalization process has been completed we will implement a range of social development programs, supported by an upfront commitment to the improvement of healthcare, education, food security and the provision of potable water in a region where the groundwater has a high saline content,” he added.
Miftah Ismail said the development of Reko Diq represented the largest direct foreign investment in Balochistan and one of the largest in Pakistan.
“Like Barrick, we believe that the future of mining lies in mutually beneficial partnerships between host countries and world-class mining companies. The Reko Diq agreement exemplifies this philosophy, and also signals to the international community that Pakistan is open for business,” he said.
Subject to the updated feasibility study, Reko Diq is envisaged as a conventional open pit and milling operation, producing a high-quality copper-gold concentrate. It will be constructed in two phases, starting with a plant that will be able to process approximately 40 million tonnes of ore per annum which could be doubled in five years. With its unique combination of large scale, low strip, and a good grade, Reko Diq will be a multi-generational mine with a life of at least 40 years. During peak construction, the project is expected to employ 7,500 people, and once in production, it will also create 4,000 long-term jobs.
Barrick’s policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the downstream economy.