From Dust to Dollars: Pakistan Minerals Summit aims to attract foreign investment in $6 trillion worth of mineral wealth

Pakistan hosted its inaugural minerals summit on Tuesday in Islamabad, drawing attention to the nation’s untapped potential of natural resources worth an estimated $6 trillion.

Organized by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), the summit was established to attract foreign investments. The summit featured four sessions and discussions with key stakeholders, including foreign investors, diplomats, and dignitaries.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif was the chief guest while Chief of the Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir was the guest of honour. Army played a vital role in all projects under the new framework, as per the summit. During his address, Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir emphasized the importance of foreign investors in unlocking this potential.

“Foreign investors will be an integral part of the mines and mineral projects and their investment will be secure under the Special Investment Facilitation Council … We will establish an investor-friendly system that avoids unnecessary complications and provides favorable conditions.”

PM Shehbaz Sharif, addressing the summit, urged the country to follow the example of Middle Eastern states, which had successfully built their economies by tapping into their mineral wealth. The prime minister said the participation of Barrick Gold and other international firms in the Pakistan Mineral Summit manifested the revival of investors’ confidence in Pakistan.

States like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had set an example for other countries, including Pakistan, by building on oil and gas resources, Sharif said.

One of the notable attendees was Saudi Vice Minister for Mining Affairs, Engineer Khalid Bin Saleh Al-Mudafiq. In his closing statement, Engineer Al-Mudafiq looked forward to celebrating the success of Pakistan’s mining sector, fostering economic prosperity and sustainable growth through foreign investments

“Let us unite our efforts to harness the full potential of Pakistan’s, Saudi Arabia’s, and the region’s mineral sector,” the minister said

The event concluded with the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding, solidifying opportunities for foreign investment in Pakistan’s mining sector.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif attends Pakistan Mineral Summit held in Islamabad on August 1, 2023. (Image Credit: PID)

Saudi delegation attends the summit

The Saudi delegation, led by Al-Mudaifer, participated in Pakistan’s first minerals summit held in Islamabad.

Al-Mudaifer expressed his enthusiasm for exploring mineral investments in Pakistan, stating that the Saudi government is committed to supporting and facilitating investment opportunities between the two nations. He highlighted the importance of their delegation, which included companies like Ma’aden and Manara, engaging in discussions with their Pakistani counterparts.

“The [Saudi] government is mandated to support, help, bring investment and facilitate that investment into Pakistan to build into the relationship between us,” Al-Mudaifer said. “And therefore, we brought our companies here, the Ma’aden, the Manara and other companies to attend and facilitate discussion with their counterparts.”

Discussing Pakistan’s potential, Al-Mudaifer emphasized the country’s estimated $6 trillion worth of mineral deposits and its significant population of 240 million people. He referred to the people of Pakistan as the country’s true wealth, along with their expertise and the abundance of mineral resources.

Barrik Gold agrees to pay Pakistan’s share in Reko Diq project in PKR

According to a statement from the PM Office, Barrick Gold expressed their agreement to pay Pakistan’s share of investment in Pakistani rupees, indicating a positive sign of renewed confidence from investors, including Barrick Gold, in Pakistan. This increased confidence is attributed to the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council, which has paved the way for such fruitful collaborations.

During a meeting with a delegation from Barrick Gold, led by CEO Mark Bristow, the Prime Minister acknowledged Pakistan’s vast reserves of minerals and emphasized the government’s commitment to harnessing their potential. The PM stated that measures were being taken on a priority basis to maximize the benefits of these resources.

Barrick Gold Corporation’s CEO, Mark Bristow, stated that the Reko Diq copper-gold project’s updated feasibility study is progressing rapidly, and they aim to begin production in 2028. He mentioned that the signing of the New Reko Diq agreement last year was a significant step for Pakistan’s mining industry.

“I hope the momentum created by this event will be sustained by successive efforts to unlock this sector’s full potential and build its capacity by attracting other foreign investors to follow Barrick, to the lasting benefit of Pakistan and its people,” he said.

Barrick believes in a partnership model and shares the value created with all stakeholders, including host countries and communities. Barrick owns 50% of Reko Diq, and the Balochistan province and the federal government hold 25% each.

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