Barrick plans for first production from Reko Diq in 2018
Barrick Gold plans to finish the feasibility study update of the Reko Diq project in Pakistan by the end of 2024 with a target of first production by 2028. Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow informed the Pakistan federal and Balochistan provincial government for the target dates. The news comes following the completion of the legal processes and definitive transaction agreements that occurred in December.
Reko Diq will be operated by Barrick, which owns 50 percent of the project, with Balochistan holding 25 percent and three Pakistani state-owned enterprises sharing the remaining 25 percent. The shareholding structure is in line with Barrick’s policy of benefit-sharing partnerships with its host countries.
In a statement, the company said Bristow and other senior executives meet with Balochistan chief minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and other provincial leaders as part of a three-day project review that started in Quetta. The Barrick team briefed them on the extensive social and economic development opportunities that would be generated by the mine, which is expected to have a life of at least 40 years. The meeting was attended by a wide spectrum of provincial stakeholders and leaders, including opposition leader Malik Sikandar Khan (JUI-F) and leaders of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Jamiat Ullema Islam (JUI-F), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Awami National Party (ANP).
After the meeting, Bristow and the chief minister signed a memorandum of agreement which specifies the timetable for the disbursement of committed funds to the province, including advance royalties and social development funds, ensuring that the people of Balochistan start earning benefits from the project well before the mine goes into production. The agreement provides for an initial payment of $3 million this month.
Barrick is working to set up community development committees to identify priority projects focused on food security, environmental management and access to education, healthcare and potable water.
In Islamabad, Bristow met with Minister of State (Petroleum Division) Musadik Masood Malik and reaffirmed Barrick’s goal to be a partner to Pakistan for decades to come and to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country’s highly prospective mining sector.
The minister welcomed the Reko Diq project as the type of long-term, employment-creating investment by a leading multinational that the country needed more of and that could help in the reform of the Pakistan and Balochistan economies.
Photo credit: Barrick