Barrick Gold lays out plans for $7 billion Reko Diq project in Pakistan

Barrick Gold has revealed its latest plans to develop the giant Reko Diq copper-gold deposit, a decade after the government of Pakistan refused it a permit for the same project.

Last month, the Toronto-based mining giant quashed a long-running dispute with Pakistan over Reko Diq, ceding 50% of the ownership to the government. Barrick’s original partner – Chile’s Antofagasta – will exit the project in favour of more local opportunities.

In an online presentation, Barrick put forward conceptual design calls for the US$7 billion project to be built in two phases, with each able to process about 40 million metric tonnes of ore a year and production starting as soon as 2027.

“The staged development will optimise returns, manage upfront capital, lower execution risk and bring forward production and cash flow in the long run,” said Barrick’s CEO Mark Bristow.

Barrick plans to invest twice as much as estimated in a 2010 feasibility study and double the project’s annual throughput capacity. Annual copper production at Reko Diq should reach 200,000 tonnes, over a 40+ year life.

The company expects to close a definitive agreement with Pakistan in H2 of this year and to complete a feasibility update by 2023-24.

Barrick also views the project in the province of Balochistan as a ‘springboard for further exploration and other mineral discoveries’ along the lengthy Tethyan Metallogenic Belt. The development will make Balochistan the largest recipient of foreign investment in Pakistan and will create 7,500 construction jobs and 4,000 long-term positions.