Barrick to restart Reko Diq project in deal ending dispute with Pakistan – Pakistan

Pakistan reached an out-of-court deal with a foreign company that has agreed to waive a $11 billion fine and revive a mining project that has been suspended since 2011, officials said on Sunday.

Tethyan Copper, a consortium owned by Canadian gold company Barrick and Chilean Antofagasta Minerals each with 37.5% each, has discovered vast gold and copper deposits at Reko Diq in Balochistan.

The highly lucrative open pit mining project was halted in 2011 after the local government refused to renew Tethyan Copper’s lease and declared it null and void by the Supreme Court in 2013.

In 2019, a World Bank Arbitration Tribunal committee fined Pakistan for illegal mining refusal.

After a decade of legal struggle, Pakistani officials announced an out-of-court settlement with Barrick Gold on Sunday.

Treasury Secretary Shaukat Tarin said at a press conference: “This agreement voids our award of approximately $11 billion, and for the second time, Barrick and our partners will invest $10 billion.”

“This will help Pakistan and Balochistan for the next 100 years,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the project would “potentially become the largest gold and copper mine in the world”.

“This will free us from severe debt and usher in a new era of development and prosperity,” he said in a statement.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is rich in natural resources.

Experts say Balochistan’s mining is dominated by small companies that mainly focus on marble and granite, which waste potential yields of up to 80% due to poor extraction techniques.

said legal expert Osama Malik. AFP That the Pakistani settlement was the only solution and the best deal for the Balochistan local government.

“The Pakistani side can no longer appeal. “We couldn’t afford to pay the staggering damages, one of the highest awarded by the World Bank Arbitration Forum.”

After the restructuring of the project, Barrick will own 50%, Pakistan Federal Government Enterprises 25% and Balochistan Government 25%.