The multi-billion-dollar Reko Diq gold and copper project would be launched on August 14, the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Quddus Bizenjo said on Tuesday during a meeting with Barrick Gold Corporation President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow.
Bizenjo termed the project one of the major investments in the region, which would open new vistas of development and prosperity in the province. Bristow said that the project would create substantial value for the province through multiple generations.
"The project will be formally launched on August 14th," Chief Minister Bizenjo informed. “Balochistan will get a 25% share from the multi-billion dollar project. Every year the provincial government will be getting $1 billion from the project as its share, without [making] any investment,” he added.
Speaking after the meeting, Bristow said that the Reko Diq project was a partnership between the Barrick Gold, the Balochistan Government and Pakistani state-owned enterprises, would create substantial value for the province through multiple generations.
The Barrick and the government of Pakistan had worked to ensure that Balochistan received a substantial share of the benefits generated by the Reko Diq project. “The province will reap dividends, royalties and other benefits of its 25% ownership,” he said.
“Balochistan’s shareholding in Reko Diq will be fully funded by its partners and the federal government, which means that the province will reap … benefits without having to contribute financially to the construction and operation of the mine,” he added.
“It’s equally important that Balochistan and its people should see these benefits quickly. Even before the construction starts, once the legalisation process is completed, we will implement a range of social development programmes.”
Bristow reiterated Barrick’s “upfront commitment” to improve healthcare, education, vocational training, food security and the potable water facilities. “Social contributions are currently estimated to around $70 million over the construction period,” he continued.
Elaborating on the company’s contributions to community development in Balochistan, Bristow committed up to $3 million in the first year and up to $7 million in year two. He said that Barrick’s policy of prioritising local employment and suppliers would also have a positive impact on the local economy.
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. 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.
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, following the first production from phase one. It will employ 7,500 people, but once in production, it will create 4,000 long-term jobs.
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