A major Chinese construction and engineering company agrees to help develop Russia’s largest titanium deposit located in the Arctic

Expansion of an Arctic deepwater port and a new railroad to the port are also part of the development plans.

Chinese investment and interest in Russia’s Arctic natural resources continues unabated. In addition to receiving regular shipments of LNG and crude oil, one of China’s major engineering and construction companies is partnering with Russian Titanium Resources to develop a massive mineral deposit in the Russian Arctic.

Russian Titanium Resources (Rustitan) and China Communications and Construction Company signed an agreement for the development of the Pizhemskoye mining project in the Komi Republic.

The cooperation extends beyond the mining of titanium and includes a host of related infrastructure development including expansion of the Arctic deep water port of Indiga and construction of the Sosnogorsk-Indiga railway connection. The region’s mining cluster extends beyond titanium into other minerals, including zircon, iron ore, and gold.

A key aspect of the project is the transport component allowing for the export of materials through Urals and Siberia and funneling cargo onto the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

Rustitan was founded in 2007 focusing primarily on the mining of titanium and quartz raw materials. The company discovered the Pizhemskoye deposit, located in the Ust-Tsilemsky district of the Komi Republic, in 2021. The field is home to Russia’s and the world’s largest titanium ore reserves. Pizhemskoye contains more than 80 percent of the country’s titanium ore reserves.

China Communications and Construction Company has been involved in a number of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative projects, though it has repeatedly faced scrutiny for its financial practices and has been subject to U.S. sanctions for more than a decade.

More cargo for the NSR

The Pizhemskoye project is a key component of the Kremlin’s official 2020 Arctic investment plan, also called “Strategy of Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation for the period to 2035.”

An expanded deep-water ice-free seaport of Indiga would become an additional point of cargo volume for the Northern Sea Route. Similarly the Sosnogorsk-India railway is a strategic transport lane to increase the flow of mineral resources toward the NSR.

According to the Northern Sea Route administration it expects Indiga to handle up to 30m tons of cargo before the end of the decade with up to 80m tons in the 2030s.

In addition to the meeting between Rustitan and China Communications and Construction Company, a second meeting took place with the China Railway Construction Corporation, the second largest state-owned construction company in China.

“We have reached an agreement with our Chinese partners on the establishment of a joint company, and today such an Agreement is at the development stage. Combining the accumulated competencies of our organizations, both in construction and in financing infrastructure projects, will have a significant synergistic effect for the domestic market,” a company representative explained.

In additional news related to the project, Rustitan announced last week that it had been granted a patent related to the beneficiation, or processing, of titanium ores from the Pizhemskoye deposit specific to the metallurgy present at the deposit.

World’s largest titanium exporter

China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of titanium and as a result is also one of the leading importers of titanium ore required to produce the alloy.

Lightweight titanium alloys are used extensively in the aerospace and defense industry during the production of jet engines, missiles and spacecraft.

Prior to western sanctions Russia’s largest producer VSMPO-Avisma supplied around 30 percent of titanium needs for the global aerospace industry, with US’ Boeing receiving 40 percent of its titanium from Russia and its European rival Airbus procuring up to 60 percent from Russia, High North News writes.

Zijin Mining began operations at a new Serbian copper and gold mine

China’s Zijin Mining began operations at a new Serbian copper and gold mine expected to make the Balkan country Europe’s second-largest copper producer.

The Cukaru Peki upper zone of the Timok copper and gold project is part of Serbia’s only copper mining complex, the RTB Bor operation owned by Zijin.

It has invested $474-million so far in the new underground mine, which is expected to have annual capacity of 3.3-million tonnes of ore.

“The first part of the project involves mining an ultra high-grade ore body. It is expected to produce 50 000 t of copper and 3 t of gold in 2021,” the company said on its website.

With the opening of the lower zone of the Timok project, Serbia’s share of Europe’s total copper output could rise to 18% from 5%, which the energy ministry has said would make Serbia Europe’s second-largest producer behind Poland.

“This project … is important for the development of Serbia’s economy and also for strengthening cooperation between Serbia and China,” China’s ambassador to Serbia, Chen Bo, said at the mine’s opening ceremony in Bor.

In 2018 Zijin Mining became Serbia’s strategic partner in RTB Bor, pledging to invest $1.26-billion in return for a 63% stake.

At the opening ceremony in Bor, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said the Chinese investment would bring benefits to the company and impoverished eastern Serbia.

China has so far invested billions of euros in Serbia, mostly in the form of soft loans to finance highway and energy projects, as part of its so-called belt and road initiative to open new foreign trade links.

Source: miningweekly.com

China’s Zijin Mining says a parliamentary delegation has praised its operations in the Kyrgyz Republic

It said last week the MPs visited its Taldybulak Levoberezhny gold mine, operated by Zijin’s local affiliate Altynken.

The mine was the second largest in the country and produced 4.2 tonnes of gold in 2020 and paid more than US$40 million in local taxes, Zijin said.

“The delegation thanked Zijin Mining and Altynken for their contribution to the economic and social development in the country and expressed intentions to work closely with Zijin, to deliver more win-win results”, it said.

“Impressed by how well the environment is protected at the mine, the MPs said the garden-like mine site is one of a kind in Kyrgyzstan”.

Kyrgyz’s government in May took control of Canada-based Centerra Gold’s flagship Kumtor gold mine, which is expected to produce 470,000-510,000oz of gold this year, claiming Centerra had abdicated its fundamental duties of care

The move followed disputes over tax claims and environmental damage.

Centerra brought additional claims earlier this month against the government in binding arbitration and asserted claims against the state-owned entity Kyrgyzaltyn JSC in response to the “wrongful expropriation” of Kumtor.

However Kyrgyz says the Kumtor Gold Company’s activities are “exclusively subject to and governed by the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic”.

Meanwhile AIM-listed Chaarat Gold said this week the uncertainty over the country’s mining sector had not materially delayed the project timeline for its planned Tulkabash project, where first gold is slated for 2023.

Source: Mining Journal