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.
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