July 19, 2022: Chief Executive Officer of Barrick Gold Corporation Mark Bristow and Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo revealed Tuesday that development work on the Reko Diq mining project, initially starting at $7 billion, will begin in August 2022.
During a joint press conference here at the CM Secretariat, CEO Barrick Gold and CM Balochistan said the Reko Diq copper-gold project, a partnership between the company, the provincial government and Pakistani state-owned enterprises, would create substantial value for the province for several generations.
The Reko Diq mining project will be built in two phases, starting with a plant that can process approximately 40 million tons of ore per year, which can be doubled in five years after initial production from phase one.
With its unique combination of large scale, low strip and good quality, Reko Diq becomes a multi-generation mine with a lifespan of at least 40 years.
Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold while detailing the project, said that at the peak of construction, the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and, once in production, will create 4,000 long-term jobs. Barrack’s policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the local economy.
During the negotiations, Barrick and the government of Pakistan had made efforts to ensure that Balochistan would receive a significant portion of the benefits generated by Reko Diq.
Balochistan’s stake in Reko Diq will be fully funded by its partners and the federal government, meaning the province will reap the dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25% ownership without contributing financially to the construction and operation of the property. the mine .
CEO Barrick Gold commented: “It is equally important that Balochistan and its people see these benefits quickly, even before construction begins.
“Once the legalization process is complete, we will implement a series of social development programs supported by and pre-committed to improving health care, education, vocational training, food security and drinking water supply.”
Speaking of the company’s social contributions, he said social contributions are currently estimated at about $70 million over the construction period, including upfront payments of up to $3 million in the first year after closure and up to $7 million in the second year,” he said. he. .
In addition, Reko Diq will advance royalties to the Government of Balochistan of up to $5 million in the first year after closing, up to $7.5 million in the second, and up to $10 million annually thereafter until commercial production begins, subject to a cumulative $50 mn maximum in advances.
Subject to the updated feasibility study, Reko Diq is considered a conventional open pit and milling operation, producing a high quality copper-gold concentrate.
Speaking at the press conference, Balochistan Prime Minister Mir Abdul Qudous Bizenjo said that the federal government agreed with our proposals regarding the Reko diq project and that Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif accepted all demands to protect the rights of the population of Balochistan.
“Due to the favorable environment for investment in Balochistan, the international investors are willing to invest in the province,” he added.
However, CM noted that nothing related to the Reko diq project has been kept secret. Members of the provincial council were briefed behind closed doors for nine hours while political leaders, including Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch and Mehmood Khan Achakzai, were also kept informed about the Reko diq project.
Prime Minister Balochistan expressed his pleasure at the copper-gold project, saying that “today is a historic day when we will make significant progress on the Reko diq project.”
“The government of Balochistan is collaborating with international companies, which is why investors are turning to Balochistan,” he recalls.
On the possible positive impact of the Reko Diq project on the inhabitants of the province, he said it is a guarantee for the bright future of Balochistan.
Balochistan gets 25% of the project’s total revenue, while ten million dollars is given to Balochistan every year.
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