Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD)(TSX:ABX) is contributing US$150,000 to Balochistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to support its relief efforts in the wake of unprecedented floods in the region. Remote communities in the province were hardest hit by the heavy monsoon rains which killed more than 500 people in Pakistan.
In a phone call today with the province’s chief minister, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow expressed the company’s condolences on the loss of life and suffering inflicted on the people of Balochistan.
He said the contribution to the emergency fund was a demonstration of the spirit of partnership in which Barrick, Balochistan and Pakistan had embarked on the reconstitution and restart of the Reko Diq project, which holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. Balochistan will have a 25% fully funded share in the project (10% free carried and 15% to be funded by the federal government). Pakistani state-owned enterprises will hold another 25% and Barrick, with 50%, will operate the mine.
“Balochistan will benefit enormously from its stake in the mine. Even before construction starts, once the legalisation process has been completed and the project reconstituted, we will start implementing social development programs representing an estimated investment of US$70 million over the construction period. In addition, Reko Diq will advance royalties of up to US$5 million in the first year, up to US$7.5 million in the second and up to US$10 million thereafter until construction starts,” Bristow said.
During peak construction the project is expected to employ approximately 7,500 people and once in production it will create 4,000 full-time jobs. Its policy of local procurement will stimulate the development of a robust local economy.
“Reko Diq has an estimated life of at least 40 years, so it will be generating substantial benefits for its Balochistan stakeholders for generations to come,” Bristow said.