Islamabad, 21 March 2022 (TDI): The government of Pakistan has signed an agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation for the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project in Balochistan.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Baluchistan, and Barrick Gold Corporation. The deal concerns the copper & gold mines in Chagai.

Barrick Gold Corporation

Barrick Gold Corporation is a mining company that produces gold and copper. It is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The project with Pakistan was suspended in 2011 due to a disagreement over the legality of its licensing process.

Comments of High Commissioner of Canada

Wendy Gilmour, the High Commissioner of Canada to Pakistan stated through her Twitter account that this deal is an incredible opportunity for Pakistan and Baluchistan.

She emphasized that Barrick Gold is a world leader in responsible mining and their involvement in Reko Dik will ensure direct and indirect benefits for Baluchistan and Pakistan.

Reko Dik Gold & Copper Mines

Reko Dik hosts one of the world’s largest untapped open pit copper-gold porphyry deposits. Porphyry is an igneous rock comprised of coarse-grained crystals like quartz or feldspar.

It is dispersed in a fine-grained silicate-rich, generally aphanitic matrix or groundmass. Aphanitic texture means that a rock has a fine-grained texture in which individual crystals can be only seen through a microscope.

Details of the Deal

According to the revised agreement, Barrick and Pakistan will be equal stakeholders i.e. 50% for Barrick and 50% for Pakistan. It will comprise a 10% free-carried, non-contributing share for the government of Balochistan.

An additional 15% will be held by a special purpose company that will be owned by the government of Balochistan. The other 25% will be owned by other federal state-owned enterprises.

Furthermore, another agreement provides for Barrick’s partner Antofagasta PLC to be substituted in the project by the Pakistani partakers. Barrick will pilot the project.

It will be granted an exploration license, mining lease, surface rights, and a mineral agreement stabilizing the fiscal regime appropriate to the project for a specified period.

The process to finalize and approve definitive agreements will be fully transparent and involve the federal and provincial governments, along with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

It will include the stabilization of the fiscal regime pursuant to the mineral agreement. If the final agreements are accomplished and the requirements to closing are fulfilled, the project will be reconstituted.

This will include the key to the damages initially granted by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and disputed in the International Chamber of Commerce. Mark Bristow, the President, and Chief Executive officer of Barrick lauded the agreement.

He stated that it is a significant step towards the development and operation of Reko Diq along with being a tribute to the decisions of all parties for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Bristow further added that if everything goes according to the plan, Reko Diq could be in production within the next five to six years.