https://www.miningweekly.com

Gold billionaire Sawiris eyes stake in $7bn Reko Diq mine

16th October 2023

By: Bloomberg

  

Font size: - +

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, who has forged a fortune in telecom and gold, is eyeing an investment in Barrick Gold's $7-billion Reko Diq copper/gold project as he looks to expand his business in Pakistan.

Reko Diq, in the Balochistan region that borders Afghanistan and Iran, is one the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, capable of producing 200 000 tons of copper and 250 000 ounces of gold a year for more than half a century. The project is jointly owned by Barrick and Pakistan.

Asked whether he was interested in investing, Sawiris, a major investor in gold miners including Endeavour Mining through his La Mancha Resources Inc., said “yes".

“I have an advantage compared to other investors. I know the country, I have friends here,” Sawiris said in an interview in Islamabad. “We want to be on the Pakistani side, because I have been here for 25 years.”

He did not elaborate on the potential scale of the investment, but added there were few other options, in part due to the lack of geological data: “We tried here to look but unfortunately there is only this one big project.”

Last month, Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said he was seeing newfound “interest” in Reko Diq from multinational mining firms that have to date been hesitant to venture into tricky regions of the world. The mine has also attracted interest from Saudi Arabia, whose presence could serve to stabilize the project in a contentious part of the world.

Pakistan’s state-owned energy exploration companies, which have a stake in the project, said last month they were looking into “potential engagement” with sovereign foreign investors, without giving details.

Sawiris’ Ora Developers is separately working on a luxury housing project, Eighteen, and he earlier set up one of Pakistan’s first mobile phone companies, Mobilink, now owned by Veon, dand the nation’s largest cellular firm by subscriber numbers.

Pakistan’s lengthy, difficult official procedures, an unstable currency and capital restrictions are hurdles for investment, but Sawiris said he remained optimistic.

“If there is concrete in my way, I’ll drill through it and I’ll go,” he said. “I have never let anybody in my life hold me back from what I wanted to achieve.”

Edited by Bloomberg

Comments

The content you are trying to access is only available to subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, you can Login Here.

If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe now, by selecting one of the below options.

For more information or assistance, please contact us at subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za.

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
PLUS
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?

MAGAZINE & ONLINE

SUBSCRIBE

RESEARCH CHANNEL AFRICA

SUBSCRIBE

CORPORATE PACKAGES

CLICK FOR A QUOTATION