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Barrick Gold Corporation to develop copper asset in Saudi Arabia

Barricks management team has studied alternate hauling/hoisting options from the mine. (Image source: Barrick Gold)

Canadian gold mining company Barrick Gold Corporation has entered into a joint venture (JV) with mining company Ma?aden to operate the Jabal Sayid copper asset in Saudi Arabia

According to a Reuters report, Saudi Arabian firm Ma?aden has agreed to buy the 50 per cent interest in the project for US$210mn. This deal also helps the kingdom expand its industrial base beyond oil exports and refineries.

Officials from Barrick Gold said that the tie-up with Ma?aden, which is expected to close in Q4 2014, will help initiate production by late 2015. As of December 2013, the mine had 1.4bn pounds of copper reserves.

Jamie Sokalsky, chief executive of Barrick Gold, said, ?This joint venture will enable the Jabal Sayid project to move forward with the benefit of Ma?aden?s extensive experience in the Saudi Arabian mining sector, combined with Barrick?s technical and operating expertise.?

In 2011, Barrick Gold had acquired the Jabal Sayid copper asset, via the purchase of the exploration company Equinox, for US$6.8bn. Despite construction being completed at the asset, output had been delayed over permit problems and legacy issues over mining licenses, reports added.

The Jabal Sayid asset, when fully operational, is expected to produce 100mn to 130mn pounds of copper in concentrate annually over the first five years of production.