Barrick is nearing completion on a $7 billion copper project in Pakistan

Barrick Gold, based in Canada, is nearing completion of a framework deal with the Pakistani government to develop the Reko Diq copper-gold mine.

Reko Diq, near the borders of Iran and Afghanistan, is said to be one of the world’s greatest untapped copper-gold deposits.

The project will be built in stages, beginning with an approximately 40 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) plant. Within the next five years, this capacity might more than double.

The Reko Diq project is estimated to cost $7 billion. According to Mining.com, the first phase would necessitate a $4 billion investment in the creation of the initial crush, milling, and flotation circuit.

Earlier this year, the Pakistani government, the Balochistan provincial government, and Barrick reached a preliminary deal to resume the project.

Barrick will operate the project with a 50% stake, while other partners include the Balochistan provincial government (25%) and Pakistani state-owned firms (25 percent ).

The parties are finalising the framework agreement’s underlying definitive agreements.

Barrick said in a statement: “Once this has been completed and the necessary legalisation steps have been taken, Barrick will update the original feasibility study, a process expected to take two years. Construction of the first phase will follow that with the first production of copper and gold expected in 2027/2028.”