Saudi Arabia in Talks with Pakistan on Reko Diq, says Barrick CEO
Saudi Arabia is engaged in ongoing discussions with Pakistan to acquire a portion of the government's stake in the $7 billion Reko Diq copper project, which is jointly owned with Barrick Gold Corp. Mark Bristow, the CEO of Barrick, revealed that Saudi Arabia may obtain partial ownership in Reko Diq through an equity purchase with the Pakistani government. Reko Diq is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, located in the Balochistan region bordering Afghanistan and Iran. The project has the potential to produce 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold annually for over 50 years.
Barrick holds a 50% ownership stake in Reko Diq, while the Pakistani federal government owns 25% and the Balochistan regional government owns the remaining shares. Bristow emphasized that Barrick will not dilute its equity in the project. The discussions between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been ongoing, and Bristow expressed support for any decision made by the Pakistani government in collaboration with the Saudis.
The interest in Reko Diq reflects the global demand for copper assets, particularly as the need for battery metals accelerates. Major gold producers like Barrick and Newmont Corp. are expanding their copper output, while countries such as Saudi Arabia are seeking greater control over commodities necessary for sustainable and decarbonized economies.
While speculation surrounds potential investors in the Reko Diq project, Bristow dismissed claims made by Egyptian gold billionaire Naguib Sawiris expressing interest in a stake. Bristow firmly stated that there is no chance of Sawiris obtaining a stake in Reko Diq.
The Implications of Saudi Arabia's Potential Stake in Reko Diq on Emerging Businesses
Saudi Arabia's ongoing talks with Pakistan to acquire a portion of the Reko Diq copper project could have significant implications for new businesses, particularly those in the mining and commodities sectors. This potential deal highlights the increasing global demand for copper, a key component in the production of batteries and other technologies vital for sustainable economies.
Increased Demand for Copper
The interest in Reko Diq, one of the world's largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, underscores the accelerating demand for copper assets. This trend is driven by the growing need for battery metals, as countries and corporations alike strive for decarbonization. For new businesses in the mining sector, this could signal lucrative opportunities and increased investment in copper exploration and production.
Greater Control Over Essential Commodities
Saudi Arabia's potential stake in Reko Diq also reflects a broader trend of countries seeking greater control over essential commodities. This shift could impact new businesses by creating a more competitive landscape, particularly for those reliant on these commodities. However, it could also spur innovation and drive businesses to explore alternative resources or more efficient production methods.
Conclusion: Navigating a Shifting Landscape
In conclusion, Saudi Arabia's potential stake in Reko Diq could signal significant changes for new businesses. Navigating this shifting landscape will require strategic planning, adaptability, and a keen understanding of global commodity trends.