Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) (TSX:ABX) Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said after their meeting here today that they 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 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% by Barrick, 25% by the Balochistan Provincial Government and 25% 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 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% 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."
Finance Minister 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 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 create 4,000 long-term jobs. Barrick's policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the downstream economy.
Kathy du Plessis
Investor and Media Relations
+44 20 7557 7738
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Certain information contained or incorporated by reference in this press release, including any information as to our strategy, projects, plans or future financial or operating performance, constitutes "forward-looking statements". All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. The words "partnership", "framework", "opportunity," "bring", , "plan", , "anticipate", "contemplate", "proposed", "work towards", "expect", "envisage", "will", "would", "could", "should", "intend", "future", "commitment" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this press release contains forward-looking statements including, without limitation, with respect to: the planned updating of the historical Reko Diq feasibility study; the future construction, development and operation of the Reko Diq project, including the anticipated benefits of a two phased approach and timeline for construction and the anticipated initial throughput of the processing plant; the future ownership of the Reko Diq project; the proposed fiscal terms applicable to the Reko Diq project and the joint venture through which it is held; the timeline and process for the reconstitution of a joint venture to carry out the future development and operation of the Reko Diq project; the contemplated life of mine of the Reko Diq project; the anticipated sharing of the benefits from the Reko Diq project with Barrick's host governments and communities including social development and public health programs as well as potential levels of local employment and local procurement during project construction and operation; and expectations regarding financial performance and other outlook or guidance.
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