Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), the largest producer of the metal, said on Sunday it is forming a joint venture with Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) to run a copper project in the kingdom.
The Saudi firm will acquire 50% of Barrick’s Jabal Sayid asset in the country for $210 million, a move that could see the long-delayed mine begin production in late 2015.
The Toronto-based firm gained the Jabal Sayid project when it acquired copper miner Equinox in 2011 for $6.8 billion (Cdn$7.3bn). Most of the construction at the asset had been complete for a while, but output was delayed over permit problems related to safety issues and legacy matters over mining licenses.
“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,” Chief Executive Jamie Sokalsky said in the statement.
Once fully operational, the mine —located about 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Medina— is expected to produce between 100 and 130 million pounds (45,000 to 59,000 metric tons) of copper in concentrate annually over the first five years.
Image courtesy of Barrick Gold.