Islamabad, 19 July 2022 (TDI): Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail met with the Chief Executive and President of Barrick Gold Cooperation, Mark Bristow.

After resolving the disputes cordially, the Chief Executive stated that the company intends to invest about $7 billion in the Reko Diq mines for the development of gold and copper.

Reko Diq is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in Balochistan. An agreement in principle was struck earlier this year between the Pakistani Government, Provincial Government of Baluchistan, and Barrick Gold cooperation.

Due to that, the project that has been on hold since 2011 has been reckoned to be reconfigured and restarted.

Barrick will own 50% of it and will also be operated by them. And will be retained by 25% by the Balochistan Provincial Government and 25% by Pakistani State-owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Teams from Pakistan and Barrick are now finalizing the final agreements that will form the framework agreement. Barrick will update the initial feasibility study after that is finished and the required licensing processes have been taken.

Subsequently, the first construction phase will commence, and copper and gold production is expected to start in 2027 or 2028.

Pronouncements of Mark Bristow and Miftah Ismail

According to Bristow, Balochistan and its residents shall receive their share of advantages as part of the Pakistan ownership group. This was reassured by the federal government too.

Along these lines, he added, equitable distribution of the advantages generated with host governments and communities is essential to long-term success.

Furthermore, Balochistan’s 25% ownership in Reko Diq would be wholly supported by the project and the federal government.

That shall allow the province to profit from dividends, royalties, and other benefits without having to make any financial contributions to the project.

He emphasized that it is equally crucial that Balochistan and its citizens immediately experience these advantages.

He further deliberated that once the legalizing process is complete, several social development programs would be put in place in Balochistan.

Those would be backed by an upfront commitment to enhancing food security, healthcare, and education. As well as the availability of potable water in areas with high saline groundwater.

According to Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail, the development of Reko Diq constituted One of the most significant direct foreign investments in Pakistan and the largest in Balochistan.

Miftah agreed with Barrick and added that the collaborations between host nations and top-tier mining firms are the key to the future of mining.

He also highlighted that the Reko Diq agreement serves as an example of this philosophy. As a signal to the international community that Pakistan is willing for business.

Positive prospects for Pakistan

Reko Diq is foreseen as a conventional open-pit and milling operation that will yield a high-quality copper-gold concentrate.

Reko Diq will have a lifespan of at least 40 years and will be a multi-generational mine. After it is commenced, the project will provide 4000 long-term jobs in addition to 7500 peak construction jobs.

As local jobs and suppliers are prioritized by Barrick, this strategy will benefit the downstream economy.