Thu, 30 Nov 2023

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - According to The News, the federal government is considering selling its stake in the Reko Diq project to Saudi Arabia to attract investment from the gulf state, which is eager to participate in this copper-gold project.

Under the revised agreement, Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada holds 50% of the shares. At the same time, Antofagasta of Chile has exited the project in exchange for $900 million deposited by three federal government entities: Oil & Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), and Government Holdings Private Limited (GHPL). These entities own a quarter of the project, while Balochistan owns the other half. 15 percent are fully funded, while the remaining 10% are free carried.

The just-established Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has written to federal entities requesting that the transaction with Saudi companies be completed in the coming months.

According to a source familiar with the details, the initial instruction suggested doing the necessary by the end of December. Still, the deadline was extended until the end of March next year.

PPL and OGDCL, it has been learned, have also shared this material information with the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), whereas GHPL is not required to do so because it is not listed on the PSX.

"We are pleased to disclose that the Board of Directors, at its meeting held on September 28th, 2023, has decided to assess a potential engagement with independent foreign investors concerning the Reko Diq Project and has decided to appoint advisors through its associated company M/s Pakistan Minerals (Private) Limited to assist in this regard," according to the PPL press release.

The News also contacted SIFC for additional confirmation. A well-placed official confirmed the development, saying Pakistan wanted the Saudi government to explore a separate block of Reko Diq. Still, the brotherly state is interested in investing in the existing project because Saudis, like any investor, do not want to take risks by venturing into an unexplored mining area.

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