The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has signed a partnership agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada to establish a limited liability company that will acquire, develop and operate the copper mining project in Jabal Sayid which is 120 kilometers southeast of Madinah.
Having received the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources approval in principle of the transaction including the transfer of the mining and exploration licenses to the new joint venture, Ma’aden will invest around SR787.5 million ($210 million) to acquire 50 percent share of the project, including all equipment and existing infrastructure free of any encumbrance or debt.
Jabal Sayid is the most important copper mine discovered in the Kingdom. The underground mine is reported to have 650,000 tons of reported reserves. Production at Jabal Sayid is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2015 as engineering, construction and equipment installation are substantially complete. Production capacity is expected to reach between 45 and 60,000 tons per year.
Based on the current reported reserves, the expected life of the mine is up to 15 years but may be increased by the joint venture in light of its intention to expand exploration efforts under its exploration and mining licenses.
The project will provide in excess of 400 direct jobs in addition to further non-direct jobs.
The agreement was signed at the head office of Ma’aden in Riyadh, attended by the chairman of Ma’aden’s Board of Directors Eng. Abdullah bin Saif Al Saif. Ma’aden was represented by its Chief Executive Officer Eng. Khaled bin Saleh Al Mudaifer and Barrick was represented by the Chairman of its board of directors John Thornton. The signing ceremony was also attended by Ma’aden’s Chief Financial Officer Khaled Al Rowais and Barrick’s Senior Executive Vice President Kelvin Dushinsky.
Al Mudaifer pointed out that Ma’aden’s investment in copper activities is in line with its strategy to diversify its business portfolio, which currently consists of phosphate, aluminum, gold and industrial minerals. In addition, Ma’aden’s investment in the Kingdom’s most important copper project and its partnership with the world’s leading gold mining company will give Ma’aden an opportunity to attain added value for its investments through the transfer of specialized copper know-how and technology to the Kingdom.© Copyright - Saudi Gazette