Pakistan hopes to reach ‘Reco Diq Deal’ with Saudi Arabia by December: PM Kakkar

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakkar speaks during an interview with Arab News Pakistan in Islamabad on November 6, 2023.  - Arab News
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakkar speaks during an interview with Arab News Pakistan in Islamabad on November 6, 2023. – Arab News
  • Talks are going on to sell shares in Reco Dick: PM Kakkar.
  • “We are very excited by the Saudi offer,” says the acting PM.
  • The premier also says the SIFC will operate as a “one-window operation”.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakkar has said that the government aims to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabia by December this year to sell shares in the Reko Diq project – one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines in Balochistan. Is expecting.

in an interview with arab news On Monday, the premier confirmed that talks were underway with Riyadh to sell shares in the Reko Diq project, adding that he “expected” a deal by December.

When PM Kakar was asked whether it was acceptable to the Pakistan government to sell its equity to Saudi Arabia, he said, “We are quite enthusiastic on the Saudi proposal, and we will encourage their participation not only in this project but otherwise also ” ,

“This is part of the negotiations that are taking place between the three parties, and let’s see what comes out of it… We are just a government that will encourage the Saudis to be part of this deal and the rest of the nuances – Gambhir Details, we will share the news when they reach a definite decision.

Under the amended agreement, Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation holds 50% shares of the project, while Chilean company Antofagasta acquired the project in exchange for $900 million deposited by three government entities including Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum The money has been withdrawn. Ltd. (PPL) and Government Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (GHPL).

The above entities hold a 25% stake in the project – which aims to mine undeveloped copper-gold deposits in Reko Diq, while the remaining 25% belongs to Balochistan, with 15% on a fully funded basis and 10% free-floating. -Included on floating basis. ,

Barrick considers the mine to be one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold fields in the world, with the $7 billion-plus project capable of producing 200,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year for more than half a century.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow has repeatedly said the company’s stake is not for sale, but he has no objection if Saudi Arabia wants to buy the Pakistan government’s equity, which would mean the South Asian country would no longer be on par. Will be able to keep. Shares as a Canadian mining company.

When Prime Minister Kakar was asked whether his government would be successful in meeting the December 25 deadline, he said, “We are still close to that day.” “hopefully [we can expect a deal by December],

In August, Pakistan hosted Saudi Arabian officials at its inaugural mining conference in Islamabad, where Barrick officials were also present. Barrick and Saudi state-owned mining company Ma’aden jointly operate a copper project in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is looking to invest in copper projects around the world as part of its drive towards financing energy transition projects. Earlier this year, PIF agreed to acquire a 10% stake in Brazilian mining company Vale Base Metals business.

SIFC will bring investment of 60 billion dollars

PM Kakkar said that in future, a new Special Investment Facility Council (SIFC) set up in July will serve as a “one window operation” to address any concerns of foreign investors.

“Two or three areas have already been addressed, like repatriation of dollars, which is a demand for any FDI [foreign direct investment] Unit, [that] It is insured, it is legally protected,” the PM said.

“Secondly, the bureaucratic red tape has also been addressed, the one-window opportunity on the platform of SIFC has been designed primarily for this purpose, to allow us to overcome all these bureaucratic hurdles and give full scope of permission and There is a need to rationalize the process for any investment from outside within 15 days.

He said that a dispute resolution mechanism has been agreed upon under the SIFC platform.

“This is quite encouraging and favourable, which is acceptable to all external parties…the dispute resolution mechanism has been addressed.”

Responding to a question on whether it is realistic to report that SIFC will bring investments of up to $60 billion to Pakistan in the next five years, the PM said: “It is indeed so. “It could possibly be even higher.”

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