ISLAMABAD: The governments of Pakistan and Balochistan and Barrick Gold Corporation have signed $8 billion landmark agreement on Reko Diq project after Supreme Court (SC) termed the deal ‘legal’, ARY News reported.
According to details, the $8 billion landmark agreement was signed by Reko Diq Gold Corporation representative and federal and Balochistan government representatives.
In a statement, Balochistan government said it was one of the biggest international investments in the history of Pakistan. After signing the agreement, the fine of $6.5 billion imposed on Pakistan by International Court has been reversed.
The Reko Diq agreement would be implemented immediately from December 16, 2022.
Meanwhile, Barrick Gold Corporation – in a statement – said that it had completed the reconstitution of the Reko Diq project.
One of the largest undeveloped copper-gold projects in the world, Reko Diq is owned 50% by Barrick, 25% by three federal state-owned enterprises, 15% by the Province of Balochistan on a fully funded basis and 10% by the Province of Balochistan on a free carried basis.
Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the completion of the legal processes was a key step in progressing the development of Reko Diq into a world-class, long-life mine which would substantially expand the company’s strategically significant copper portfolio and benefit its Pakistani stakeholders for generations to come.
“Reko Diq will be a major contributor to Pakistan’s economy which is expected to have a transformative impact on the underdeveloped Balochistan province where, in addition to the economic benefits it will generate, the mine will also create jobs, promote the growth of a regional economy and invest in development programs,” the statement added.
During peak construction the project is expected to employ 7,500 people and once in production it will create around 4,000 long-term jobs. As elsewhere in the group, Barrick prioritizes the employment of local people and host country nationals.
A day earlier, the federal government and allies including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Balochistan National Party Mengal (BNP-M) and National Party (Bizenjo) ended the deadlock over the Reko Diq legislation.
The team of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s representatives comprising federal ministers Ayaz Sadiq and Azam Nazeer Tarar became successful to appease the ally parties, JUI-F, BNP-M and NP over the legislation related to the Reko Diq project.
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It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Dec 9 ruled that new deal on the Reko Diq gold and copper mining project in Balochistan is legal.
Reko Diq is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold mines. The project is being restarted after remaining on hold since 2011.
The top court announced the ruling on a reference sent by President Arif Alvi under Article 186 of the Constitution of Pakistan in the Reko Diq Project on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The SC in its ruling said that international experts assisted the court and added that the Reko Diq deal is not in contradiction with the SC’s order in 2013. The agreement was done by the federal and Balochistan governments in line with the opinion of experts and there is nothing illegal in it.