Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan pen down a contract on a framework to help for the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project in the Balochistan province.
The project which was postponed in 2011 because of an argument over the legality of its licensing process, hosts one of the world’s major undeveloped open pit copper-gold porphyry deposits.
As per the news, 50% of the reconstituted project will be held by Barrick and 50% by Pakistan stakeholders, including a 10% free-carried, non-contributing part held by the government of Balochistan, further 15% held by a special purpose company owned by Balochistan government while 25% owned by other federal state-owned enterprises.
Moreover, a separate contract provides for Barrick’s partner Antofagasta PLC to be substituted in the project by the Pakistani parties.
Barrick will be the project operator which will be given a mining lease, surface rights, exploration license, and a mineral agreement stabilizing the fiscal regime valid to the project for a specified period.
The finalization process and to approve definitive agreements, comprising the stabilization of the financial regime pursuant to the mineral contract, will be completely transparent and involve the federal and provincial governments, along with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Barrick’s president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow said that the contract is a major step towards the development and operation of Reko Diq and an honor to the decisions of all parties to work on the road to a mutually beneficial product in a spirit of partnership.
“Barrick has successfully partnered with host countries worldwide and our philosophy of sharing the economic benefits our mines generate equitably with core stakeholders is also evident in the ownership structure of the new Reko Diq. This is a unique opportunity for substantial foreign investment in the Balochistan province and will bring enormous direct and indirect benefits not only to this region but also to Pakistan for decades to come. In addition to local employment and skills development, local procurement, infrastructure upgrades, and improved medical and education systems, Reko Diq could also be the springboard for further exploration and other mineral discoveries along the highly prospective Tethyan Metallogenic Belt,” he said.