The first batch of copper and gold production from the Reko Diq mine is likely to commence in 2027-28 for which final contracts are being concluded by teams from Barrick Gold Corporation and Pakistan.
This was revealed by Barrick Gold President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow during a press conference held in Islamabad on Monday. Before addressing the media, Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail and Bristow had a meeting during which the two parties shared a strong vision of the national strategic significance of the Reko Diq copper-gold project and expressed assurance to developing it as a world-class mine that would generate value for the country and its people from multiple generations.
Mark Bristow said that Barrick Gold will capitalize $7 billion in the mine, which has the world’s biggest undeveloped copper-gold deposits, over the next ten years. The company announced to invest $4 billion during the first four years and $3 billion in the next six years.
“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,” Bristow added.
Moreover, the company will not only drive the Reko Diq mine but also own 50 percent of it, whereas 2 5percent ownership will belong to the Balochistan government, and remaining 25 percent by Pakistani state-owned enterprises (SOEs), he stated.
“At Barrick we know that our long-term success depends on sharing the benefits we create equitably with our host governments and communities. 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 25pc ownership without having to contribute financially to the project’s construction or operation,” he commented.
Furthermore, Bristow emphasised that it is equally essential that Baluchistan and its people should see these results from day one; even prior to construction starts. “When the legalisation process has been completed we will implement a range of social development programmes, 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,” Bristow said.
“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,” the Barrick Gold president and CEO shared the opinion.