Saudi Arabia edges closer to $1 Billion deal for stake in Barrick’s Reko Diq project

Scarlet Ibarra / April 19, 2024 | 12:40
reference image
Saudi Arabia is in advanced negotiations to acquire a stake worth nearly $1 billion in Barrick Gold Corporation's Reko Diq project in Pakistan. This, underscores Saudi Arabia's growing interest in diversifying its investment portfolio and strengthening its position.

The Reko Diq project, located in Pakistan's Balochistan province, is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits. If finalized, this partnership could significantly boost the project's development and unlock its vast mineral potential, benefiting both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan economically.

The investment fund of the kingdom, is planning to inject nearly $1 billion into the project. An announcement regarding the initial agreement on transaction terms may be expected within weeks. 

Discussions are at a very early stage and could still collapse or be postponed, sources close to the matter told Bloomberg. Barrick chief executive Mark Bristow has said in recent interviews that he doesn’t want to “dilute” the company’s stake in the project, but “would not mind” if Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) wants to buy out the equity of the Pakistan government.

Pakistan has not publicly stated whether it is considering selling its part in the project. The Saudi company might gradually raise its stake in Reko Diq, in which the government of Pakistan has a 25% interest and the province of Balochistan has the remaining 25%.

Manara’s first major venture overseas was a deal inked with Vale (NYSE: VALE) last July to become a 10% shareholder in the Brazilian miner’s $26 billion copper and nickel spin-off Vale Base Metals. Barrick, the world’s No.2 gold producer, believes that the proposed mine is one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold prospects.

The project, in the Balochistan region bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has the capacity to produce 200,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold annually year for more than 50 years. Production is expected to begin in 2028. Manara was established as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economy from oil, tapping its vast resources of phosphate, gold, copper and bauxite while buying minority stakes of up to 20% in assets overseas. It is a joint venture between state-owned miner Ma’aden and the PIF.

If you are going to use content from our newspaper (texts or simply data) in any media, blog or Social Networks, indicate the source, otherwise you will be committing a crime punishable by Law No. 17,336, on Intellectual Property. The above does not apply to photographs and videos, since their reproduction for informational purposes is totally PROHIBITED.
Did you find an error in the news?