CORPORATE WINDOW: Plans continue for Reko Diq.

While people are facing a harsh economic storm and the country desperately awaits external help from friendly nations and multilateral agencies to dodge the sovereign default, top executives of the Canadian mining giant are all set to initiate the multi-billion dollar Reko Diq mining project without losing any time.

Top executives of Barrick Gold were in Pakistan last week on a familiarising trip to notify the federal and Balochistan governments of the timeline of their work. Barrick's team promised a transfer of $3 million to the Balochistan government during the current month, probably to earn the necessary goodwill for a project of this scale that has long been shrouded in controversies.

Industry sources confirmed the firm started the hiring process even before the Reko Diq deal got a nod from the Supreme Court and ratification by the federal cabinet in December 2022. According to information shared on the company's website, Barrick plans to complete the Reko Diq feasibility study update by the end of next year and furnish production within the next four years by 2028. The giant company intends to invest $10 billion in the project, which has a life span of 40 years.

Barrick, which owns 50 per cent of the project, will be responsible for operating the mines. Sleeping partners include the Balochistan government, which holds 25pc stakes in the project and three state-owned enterprises, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) and Government Holding (GHPL), which share the remaining 25pc stakes. All partners will share the profits from the project in line with their shareholding.

Barrick's team promised a transfer of $3m to the Balochistan government during the current month, probably to earn the necessary goodwill for a project that has long been shrouded in controversies

Barrick team, led by president and CEO Mark Bristow, landed in the country for a three-day project review early last week that started from Quetta, where they met provincial leadership and other stakeholders that included representatives of JUI-F, BAP, PTI and ANP but excluded BNP-Mengal and NP. Leaders of these parties have publicly expressed their reservations over the mining deal.

Discussing recent developments on the project, former chief minister and leader of the National Party Dr Abdul Malik, expressed his strong disapproval of the Reko Diq deal over the phone from Turbat. He repeated his earlier stance on the Reko Diq project, which he...

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