Reko Diq story is lesson to everyone to talk not fight: Mark Bristow
Chief Executive Barrick Gold Corporation (BGC), Mark Bristow talking to reporters in Quetta: Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo also present: Photo Quetta Voice

Syed Ali Shah:

QUETTA: Chief Executive of the Barrick Gold Corporation (BGC), Mark Bristow on Tuesday said the Reko Diq story is a lesson to everyone across the globe to talk not to fight. “Reko Diq would be the first in many investments in this region”, Mr. Bristow told reporters after his meeting with Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo. The CM, Chief Secretary, Police Chief, and other high-ups were also present on the occasion.

“Today is the start of a voyage”, he said referring to challenges to launching work on the multi-billion dollar project in Pakistan. “People around the world spend too much time fighting, Reko Diq is the best example to talk not fight”, he mentioned.

He said it was the responsibility of the company and government to ensure maximum benefit to the host communities living in the Reko Diq area. “The most important stakeholders are the local people around Reko Diq”, he reiterated. Mr. Bristow stated that the people of Balochistan would see something good when the company starts its work.

Balochistan to get a 25 % ownership share

“Balochistan’s shareholding in Reko Diq will be fully funded by its partners and the federal government, which means that the province will reap the dividends, royalties, and other benefits of its 25% ownership without having to contribute financially to the construction and operation of the mine.

It’s equally important that Balochistan and its people should see these benefits quickly. Even before construction starts, once the legalization process has been completed, we will implement a range of social development programs, supported by an upfront commitment to the improvement of healthcare, education, vocational training, food security, and the provision of potable water.

Social contributions estimated at around $70 million over the construction period

Social contributions are currently estimated to amount to around $70 million over the construction period, including upfront commitments of up to $3 million in the first year following closing and up to $7 million in year two,” he said.

In addition, Reko Diq will advance royalties to the Government of Balochistan of up to $5 million in the first year following closing, up to $7.5 million in the second, and up to $10 million per year thereafter until commercial production starts, subject to a cumulative $50 million maximum of advance payments.

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. 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.

Reko Diq to create 7500 jobs

With its unique combination of large scale, low strip, and a good grade, Reko Diq will be a multi-generational mine with a life of at least 40 years. During peak construction, the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and once in production, it will create 4,000 long-term jobs. Barrick’s policy of prioritizing local employment and suppliers will have a positive impact on the local economy.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.