Ma’aden to acquire 50% of Jabal Sayid copper project

Ma’aden will invest around $210m for the purpose of acquiring a 50% share of the Jabal Sayid copper project

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The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has signed a partnership agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) of Canada to establish a limited liability company which will acquire,  develop and operate  the copper project in Jabal Sayid, located 120km south east of Al Medina Al Munawwara.

Ma’aden has received in principle approval of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in principle for the transaction including the transfer of the mining and exploration licenses to the new joint venture. The company will invest around $210m for the purpose of acquiring a 50% share of the project, including all equipment and existing infrastructure free of any encumbrance or debt. The mine is in its final development stage which will reduce the time required for realising a return on the investment.

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.

Jabal Sayid is the most important copper mine discovered in the Kingdom. The underground mine is reported to have 650,000 tonnes 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 tonnes 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.

Chief Executive Officer Eng. Khaled bin Saleh 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, aluminium, gold and industrial minerals.

The investment in the copper project and partnership with Barrick is expected to enable the transfer of specialised copper know-how and technology to the Kingdom initially at the Jabal Sayid mine and to other locations thereafter.

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