The Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation has officially launched work on the Reko Diq project, the company announced on Sunday in a ceremony held in Quetta.
Company Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow attended the inauguration ceremony held at the Chief Minister’s secretariat where he announced that the company had established a project office in Quetta. Bristow said that the company had hired a team of experts, and locals were also working on the project.
Key attendees at the ceremony included Chief Minister Balochistan Quddus Bizenjo, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Sardar Babar Musakhail, Opposition Leader Malik Sikandar Khan, several MPAs and cabinet members.
Addressing the gathering, the chief minister said the presence of the opposition at the inauguration ceremony propitious hint that the government and opposition are on the same page concerning the project. “We have reached this stage after passing through some difficulties, including legislation, taking the political leadership into confidence, and removing hurdles in signing the historical agreement,” Bizenjo said.
Bizenjo said the project would be a blessing for Balochistan and Pakistan. He said that legislation was a difficult phase of negotiations, but it was achieved through much effort. The implementation of the project has started, he announced.
Barrick Gold CEO announced that the work on the project had begun at the start of the new year. He also announced that the company has established a project office in Quetta where it would hire locals to work on the project.
He said the company’s foremost priority is to establish an amicable and working relationship with the local communities. He said the company will make more investments in the future to uplift the communities.
Bristow also announced that the company will transfer $3 million to the Balochistan government this month under the Tanjeel agreement. “We have not only come to invest in Reko Diq, but our priority is to open Balochistan to the world for investment.”