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Saudi Manara Minerals' team in Pakistan for talks on Reko Diq mine stake, document shows

6th May 2024

By: Reuters

  

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ISLAMABAD - Executives from Saudi Arabian mining company Manara Minerals are in Islamabad to continue talks about buying a stake in Pakistan's Reko Diq gold and copper mine, a Pakistan government document showed on Monday.

The mine, located in Pakistan's restive southwestern Balochistan province, is considered one of the world's largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas by global mining company Barrick Gold, which owns the project jointly with Pakistan.

The Manara officials are part of a large delegation of Saudi investors and companies that arrived in Islamabad on Sunday, according to a document seen by Reuters listing officials in the delegation.

The document listed Manara Minerals' general manager as wanting to "continue the negotiations on the Reko Diq project".

Barrick has said it will invest up to $10-billion to develop the project.

Manara Minerals, a joint venture between state-owned Saudi miner Ma'aden and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), declined to comment.

Pakistan's Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik and Commerce Minister Jam Kamal said on Monday that the Saudi delegation, representing three dozen investors and companies, will meet Pakistani companies to explore investment in sectors including agriculture, mining, aviation and livestock.

They did not name the Saudi companies.

Manara's acting CEO Robert Wilt told Reuters in an interview in January that the company was in talks to potentially buy a stake in the Reko Diq mine.

Bloomberg has reported that Manara was initially interested in investing $1 billion to take a minority share in the copper mine.

Malik, the petroleum minister, who was also appointed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as a focal person for Saudi investments, did not respond to a Reuters request for a comment.

The Saudi delegation's trip to Islamabad follows Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah's visit to Islamabad last month, when he was briefed by Pakistani authorities on various avenues to invest in the country.

Pakistan, which is trying to navigate a path to economic recovery after securing an IMF bailout, desperately needs foreign investment to help fight a chronic balance of payments crisis.

Edited by Reuters

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