The necessary legislation as required by Pakistan’s Supreme Court earlier this month, which is the final approval required by the Canadian mining company to commence construction at Reko Diq, has now passed into law

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Reko Diq copper-gold project. (Credit: Barrick Gold Corporation)

Barrick Gold has completed all the legal processes required for commencing construction works at the Reko Reko Diq project in Pakistan.

Last week, the Canadian mining company received a positive opinion from Pakistan’s Supreme Court for a settlement with the government to resume mining at the project.

The favourable court decision required securing parliamentary support for the $7bn gold and copper mining project.

Barrick said that the necessary legislation, which is the final approval required to commence construction at Reko Diq, has been passed into law.

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.

“We are currently updating the project’s 2010 feasibility and 2011 feasibility expansion studies. This should be completed by 2024, with 2028 targeted for the first production.

“With its unique combination of large scale, low strip and a good grade, Reko Diq is expected to have a life of at least 40 years.”

Located in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, Reko Diq project is said to host one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold porphyry deposits.

It is 50% owned by Barrick, and 25% by three Pakistani state-owned enterprises, while the Province of Balochistan owns 15% on a fully funded basis, and 10% on a free carried basis.

Barrick intends to develop the project as a truck-and-shovel open pit operation with processing facilities producing a high-quality copper-gold concentrate.

The company plans to build the operation in two phases, with a combined process capacity of 80 million tonnes per annum.

It is expected to create 7,500 jobs during peak construction, and around 4,000 long-term jobs once it starts production, said the mining company.

Bristow added: “Reko Diq’s ownership structure is a further manifestation of Barrick’s commitment to partnership with its host countries and communities and to sharing the value our operations create fairly with all our stakeholders.

“We’re making sure that Balochistan and its people will see these benefits quickly. Starting early next year, Barrick will implement a range of social development programs prioritising the improvement of healthcare, education, vocational training, food security and the provision of potable water.

“Our investment in these is expected to amount to around $70m over the feasibility and construction period. In addition, Reko Diq will advance royalties to the government of Balochistan of up to $50m until commercial production starts.”