Barrick Gold Corp. has revealed that, besides Saudi Arabia, several major mining companies have shown interest in its substantial copper project in Pakistan. The $7 billion Reko Diq project located in Balochistan, a region bordering Afghanistan and Iran, boasts one of the world’s largest copper deposits and has the potential to become a significant source of this essential metal. Barrick is the only mining company that has remained committed to the project despite its challenging geographical location, following the sale of its stake in the project by Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc last year.
Mark Bristow, the CEO of Barrick, shared that he has noticed newfound “interest” from multinational mining firms that have previously been cautious about investing in complex regions of the world. While he confirmed their interest, Bristow did not provide specific details.
Large metals producers are actively seeking copper assets worldwide as the demand for battery metals continues to rise, driven by the global transition to cleaner energy sources. Companies like BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group, and Glencore Plc are actively looking to expand their copper holdings, while major gold producers like Barrick and Newmont Corp. are also making efforts to increase their industrial metal output.
The Reko Diq project has already attracted interest from Saudi Arabia, and their potential involvement could help stabilize the project in a geopolitically contentious area. Earlier reports indicated that Saudi Arabia had engaged in discussions about investing in the project.
Bristow expressed a positive stance regarding Saudi Arabia’s potential participation, stating, “We would not have a problem if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan came to an agreement,” and added that “The Saudis are very interested in participating.”