Barrick Gold Corp. has formalized a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with state-run Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Ma’aden) to operate its Jabal Sayid copper project, officials announced; shipping of low-cost concentrate is pending Q1 2016.

Once operational, the asset is forecast to produce 100 million lbs of copper annually through 2021, added the company; the Toronto-based Barrick will control a $210 million stake in the long-delayed asset. Based on Q4 2013 estimates, Jabal Sayid had 1.4 billion copper lbs in proven and probable reserves, representatives noted; the mine lies 75 miles southeast of the holy city of Medina and further exploration is expected.

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