Reko Diq to be a game changer for region: Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif attended a meeting with a delegation from Barrick Gold Company led by CEO Mark Bristow. He emphasized the transformative potential of the Reko Diq project, stating that it would spur development in Balochistan. He reiterated his conviction that the project would mark a significant milestone in the province’s progress. It will usher in an era of prosperity for its residents.

During discussions, the prime minister stressed the importance of comprehensive planning, particularly in developing communication infrastructure such as railway lines. He said it is to fully capitalize on the mineral wealth of Balochistan. He underscored the need for strategic investments in infrastructure to ensure the efficient extraction and transportation of resources, thereby maximizing the socio-economic benefits for the region.

In his dialogue with Barrick Gold representatives, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif encouraged the company to explore further investment opportunities in other mineral projects across Balochistan. He proposed potential collaboration between the government and Barrick Gold to establish a technical university in the Chagai district. The university would be aimed at nurturing local talent and enhancing expertise in mining and related fields.

The prime minister reiterated the government’s unwavering commitment to facilitating investors, particularly through the improvement of road and communication networks. He emphasized that such enhancements would not only benefit the Reko Diq project but also contribute to the overall development of Balochistan and its people.

In response, the Barrick Gold delegation provided an update on the progress of the Reko Diq project. They assured the prime minister that the feasibility of completion by the end of the current year. They highlighted their preference for hiring local and Balochistan-domiciled individuals for various roles within the project, thereby contributing to local employment and skill development.

Furthermore, the delegation informed the prime minister about Barrick Gold’s initiatives under Corporate Social Responsibility. It included the establishment of three schools near Reko Diq and the provision of technical training to 100 individuals. The trainees include women, to empower local communities.

Key government officials also attended the meeting. These included Federal Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik, Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazir Tarar, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Muhammad Jehanzeb, and other relevant senior officials. Additionally, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a separate discussion with a delegation from the National Party to address mutual concerns. The PM reaffirmed the government’s commitment to providing education and employment opportunities for Baloch youth.