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Driving sustainable mining: “Zijin’s transformative journey in Serbia

Over the past five years, “Zijin” has tackled air pollution in Bor and implemented a wastewater recycling system, ensuring no discharge into waterways, according to Xu Guo Zhu, director of “Serbia Zijin Copper.” The company’s commitment extends to making Serbia a leading copper producer in Europe. In 2023, “Zijin” experienced record-breaking success, with a quarter of total production and income attributed to Bor’s mines. The promise of green mining in Serbia is on the horizon. Reflecting on progress since the privatization of RTB, General Director of “Srbija Zijin Koper” and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of “Srbija Zijin Mining,” Guo Zhu, shared insights with RTS. “Zijin” fulfilled its obligations stipulated in the purchase agreement, including investments, employment, and environmental protection. Total investments reached $2.5 billion by the end of 2023, nearly double the contractual obligation. Technical upgrades resulted in noticeable improvements in Bor’s air and water quality, showcasing the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Beyond China, “Zijin” operates in 15 countries, with plans for increased investments exceeding $4 billion in Bor mines. President Chen Djinge’s ambitious vision aims to position Serbia as Europe’s premier copper producer, a goal “Serbia Zijin Koper” is dedicated to achieving through collaborative efforts. To address environmental challenges, “Zijin” invested $300 million in environmental remediation over five years. Initiatives include air pollution mitigation and wastewater recycling, aligning with the company’s commitment to sustainable mining. Collaboration with local authorities is vital for addressing wastewater and waste management challenges. The company aims to harmonize modern mining practices with stringent EU environmental standards and meet the expectations of Eastern Serbia’s local population. As Serbia integrates into the EU, “Zijin” pledges to uphold even stricter environmental standards. Despite expansion, “Serbia Zijin Copper” and “Serbia Mining” have not laid off workers, employing approximately 7,500 individuals. Plans for future employment involve upskilling current staff and hiring new talent, particularly in fields like geology, maintenance, and finance. The global copper market remains promising, driven by increased demand from industries like renewable energy. Despite challenges, “Zijin” remains focused on sustainable growth, leveraging advanced technologies to maximize productivity and ensure employee welfare.

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