Barrick Gold Corporation has decided to restart Reko Diq project and ended long dispute with Pakistan,will invest $10 billion in the project.
Barrick Gold will develop one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mining projects under an agreement signed today.
The Reko Diq project in southwestern Pakistan, which hosts one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, was suspended in 2011 after Pakistan denied Barrick Gold and Chile’s Antofagasta a licence to develop it.
Under the out-of-court deal, an $11 billion penalty slapped against Pakistan by a World Bank arbitration court and other liabilities will be waived and Barrick and its partners will invest $10 billion in the project, Pakistani Finance Minister said.
Barrick said in a statement it will operate the project which will be granted a mining lease, exploration licence and surface rights.
In a separate statement, Antofagasta said it had agreed to exit the project as its growth strategy was now focused on the production of copper and by-products in the Americas.
“The new project company shall be owned 50% by Barrick Gold. The remaining 50% shareholding shall be owned by Pakistan, divided equally between Federal Government and the provincial government of Balochistan,” a statement from the office of Prime Minister Imran Khan said after the signing ceremony in Islamabad.
The Barrick-Antofagasta joint venture discovered the vast mineral deposits more than a decade ago at the foot of an extinct volcano in the Balochistan region on Pakistan’s borders with Iran and Afghanistan.
Pakistani prime minister congratulated the nation and people of Balochistan on the agreement between the government of Pakistan and Barrick Gold Corporation.
“I congratulate the nation and people of Balochistan on successful agreement with Barrick Gold for development of Reko Diq mine,” wrote the premier.
Khan said, the government came to an agreement after “10 years of legal battles and negotiations.”
He further added:”Penalty of approximately $11 billion is offset, $10 billion will be invested in Balochistan creating 8,000 new jobs.”