Barrick Gold Corp. officials have announced a 50:50 joint venture agreement with the Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) to operate the Jabal Sayid underground copper mine 120 km southeast of the Islamic holy city of Medina beginning next year. Under the deal, pending Q4 completion, Ma’aden will acquire its 50% project stake for a cash consideration of $210 million.

Jabal Sayid will enjoy “Ma’aden’s extensive experience in the Saudi mining sector, combined with Barrick’s technical and operating expertise,” said Barrick CEO Jamie Sokalsky in a statement. “Jabal Sayid will be a high-quality, low-cost mine, providing benefits for local communities through employment and economic development.”

Beginning with full operation in late 2015, the asset is forecast to produce up to 130 million lb of copper in concentrate annually through 2020; based on 1.4 billion lb of copper in proven and probable reserves by Q4, added company representatives, production is slated through 2025. Exploration within the licensed mine area and its adjacent exploration zone will seek to extend the project.

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