Canada’s Barrick One Step Closer to Develop Pakistani Copper-Gold Mine

Toronto-based Barrick Gold announced on Monday it came one step closer to develop Pakistan’s Reko Diq copper-gold deposit after company CEO Bristow made a four day visit to the country, which finished with Pakistan’s President Alvi approving all necessary regulatory paperwork to start building the mine. Bristow said once the transaction is completed, the project will be owned 50% by Barrick, 25% by the province of Balochistan and 25% by Pakistan’s state owned enterprises (SOEs).

The Reko Diq project is home to one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits but has been shelved since 2011 due to legal disputes over its licensing.

Barrick had resolved the dispute earlier this year, opening the door for a final agreement on how to run the mine and share profits.

The project is now seeking financing partners, with a target of 50% debt to total capitalization.

The Canadian miner is planning to deliver production as early as 2027-2028 from Phase 1 at a cost of around $4 billion. Phase 2 will follow in five years with a cost of around $3 billion.

The company expects to for the open pit mine to have a life of more than 40 years. The two phase development will start with a processing plant with a capacity of 40 million tonnes of ore per annum, which could be doubled in five years.

The latest plan is double the annual throughput capacity and more than twice the investment estimated when compared to a 2010 feasibility study.

While some say Pakistan’s lack of experience in mining and its political instability make this a risky deal, Bristow said in May that he was very experienced working in challenging situations and felt very comfortable with the project. He added that this was the “perfect opportunity for the mining industry to demonstrate what it can bring to an economy” of a region that has been “neglected” and struggles to get access to potable water.

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