Miners’ hunt for copper takes Barrick to Pakistan’s western frontier – by Benjamin Parkin and Harry Dempsey (Financial Post/Financial Times – September 6, 2023)


Reko Diq adds uncertainty for investors, but Barrick is ‘no stranger to frontier jurisdictions’

For three decades, international mining companies have tussled with officials and locals over a patch of desert around an extinct volcano in Pakistan’s neglected, insurgent-prone western province of Balochistan.

Now, after resolving years of legal disputes, Barrick Gold Corp. wants to invest US$7 billion to revive the mining project Reko Diq, which experts believe contains one of the world’s largest untapped reserves of copper and gold.

Barrick and Pakistani authorities say Reko Diq will not only be Pakistan’s largest foreign fixed investment, but a vital source of copper — a key component for the world’s energy transition — at a time when global supplies are barely likely to meet demand.

“Reko Diq is one of the bigger copper-gold undeveloped projects in the world,” said Mark Bristow, chief executive of Toronto-based Barrick, which aims to start mining in 2028 subject to an ongoing feasibility study. “It’s a very big deal. Any copper mine right now is a big deal.”

For the rest of this article: https://financialpost.com/financial-times/miners-hunt-copper-barrick-pakistan-western-frontier