Barrick teams with Saudi Arabian miner to run copper mine

Canada’s mining giant Barrick Gold (TSE, NYSE:ABX) it has completed a planned 50-50 joint venture with an important Saudi Arabian miner to develop its copper mine in the country, a partnership the firm aims to replicate with other projects such as its halted Pascua Lama in South America.

State-owned Ma'aden has paid US$210 million for half of Barrick’s Jabal Sayid copper asset in the kingdom, a move that will see the long-delayed project finally begin production.

Barrick said the mine, acquired when it bought Equinox Minerals in 2011 to gain access to the large Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, is now expected to start shipping low-cost concentrate in early 2016.

When fully operational, Jabal Sayid is expected to produce 100 million pounds of copper in concentrate annually in its first five years, with the potential to increase to 130 million pounds per year, the Toronto-based miner said.

The asset had 1.4 billion pounds of copper in proven and probable reserves as of December 31, 2013. Further exploration work, Barrick said, will be carried out within the mining license area and the exploration license area surrounding the mine with the aim of extending the mine life.

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