Zijin Bor Copper, enlarged copper concentrate production in Serbia
China’s Zijin Mining Group, produced 26.9 million tonnes of tailings and 9.4 million tonnes of ore in the first half of 2020, in its Serbian unit – Zijin Bor Copper, lead mining engineer Jiao Jianming said.
The Chinese group injected $350 million (414.5 million euro) in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed the company to Zijin Bor Copper.
Zijin Bor Copper, produced 27,700 tonnes of copper concentrate in the first half of 2020, up 10.5% on the year, Jiao Jianming said.
“Instead of the projected average content of 0.304% ore with 0.338% of copper was mined, and the utilisation of metals in flotation was 103% of plan. Therefore, instead of the planned 24,000 tons of copper in concentrate, 10.5% more was produced in the period,” Jianming said in the latest edition of corporate newsletter Kolektiv.
“We expect a better price of copper in the coming period, so we are optimistic about the full implementation of the plan for 2020,” he added.
Zijin Bor Copper aims to produce 55,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and 90,000 of copper cathode in 2020.
Zijin Bor Copper will build electrolytic copper refining plant in Serbia
The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, renamed it to Zijin Bor Copper and made it, the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group.
A company official of Zijin Bor Copper, said the company has launched a $65 million (58.1 million) project for the construction of an electrolytic copper refining plant.
The construction of the plant, which will have a capacity to process 200,000 tonnes of copper cathode per year, started on May 18, the deputy director of the copper smelter and refining unit of Zijin Bor Copper, Yu Daoming, said in the latest edition of corporate newsletter Kolektiv.
“It is the latest technology in the world, the so-called ring flow electrolysis, which has been used for three years in Jilin Zijin Copper in northeastern China,” Daoming said.
The new plant will have 456 electrolytic cells, and each of them will be able to hold 55 anodes and 54 cathodes.
“The new electrolysis will be much more cost-effective, because production will be higher, while consumption, especially of energy, will be significantly lower,”Daoming said.
In April, Serbian energy minister Aleksandar Antic said that Zijin Bor Copper plans to invest $800 million (731 million euro) in production capacity expansion in 2020 and 2021. The company intends to invest the sum in reconstruction of existing and opening of new mines, increasing the capacity of the copper smelter in Bor, as well as in environment protection activities.
Zijin Bor Copper plans to produce 3.3 mln t of ore at Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine in Serbia
Zijin Bor Copper intends to open an underground mine at Cukaru Peki, along with processing and tailings disposal facilities, CPM Consulting said. In January, Zijin Mining Group said it expects the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine in Serbia to reach production target in 2023. Zijin Bor Copper, the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group, plans to produce 3.3 million tonnes of ore at the future Cukaru Peki Upper Zone mine of the Timok copper-gold project, the supervisor of the project, Serbian company CPM Consulting, said.
The planned ore production and processing capacity of the mine is 10,000 tonnes per day, or 3.3 million tonnes per year, CPM Consulting said in a notice posted on its corporate website.
The Timok copper and gold project located in eastern Serbia consists of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone and Lower Zone. Zijin owns 100% of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone plus a 60.4% stake in the Cukaru Peki Lower Zone, while US-based Freeport McMoran owns the remainder. In November, Zijin signed an agreement to acquire Freeport McMoran’s copper and gold assets in Serbia for up to $390 million (359 million euro).
Zijin also holds majority ownership in Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor. The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of RTB Bor in December 2018 and intends to invest a total of $1.26 billion to improve its production operations, open new mines and increase efficiency.
Zijin Bor Copper in Serbia plans to invest $800 mln in expansion of its production capacity
The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed it to Zijin Bor Copper. Serbian energy minister Aleksandar Antic has said that the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group – Zijin Bor Copper plans to invest $800 million (731 million euro) in expansion of its production capacity this year and next.
The company intends to invest the sum in reconstruction of existing and opening of new mines, increasing the capacity of the copper smelter in Bor, and in environment protection activities, the energy ministry quoted Antic as saying in a press release.
Copper production at the Bor mining and smelting complex is progressing according to schedule despite the coronavirus outbreak in Serbia, Antic said during a meeting with the general manager of Zijin Bor Copper, Jian Ximing, in Belgrade.
In January, Zijin Bor Copper said it targets a profit of $8.5 million this year. The company plans to process 437,000 tonnes of copper concentrate and produce 122,000 tonnes of anodes, 90,000 tonnes of cathodes, 370,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid, 1,833 kg of gold and 11.9 tonnes of silver in 2020.
Mining exploitation and exploration in Serbia during Corona virus without delays
Serbian Mining and Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said that the production of copper and all associated ores is proceeding according to the planned dynamics and that there are no major disruptions of these processes.
He met with Gian Simin, CEO of Serbia Zijin Bor Copper, and Fu Feilon, CEO of Rakita Exploration, (a company owned by Zijin Mining Co. Ltd.), which is developing the Chukaru Peki project near Bor. Gian and Fu briefed the Minister on the situation in the ore production processes, as well as on all necessary measures taken by these companies to protect workers in the fight against the COVID epidemic 19.
“It is important for us to continue production in the Bor mines in the future, according to the agreed dynamics, and for this, first of all, the conditions of complete protection of all workers during the epidemic are necessary. These companies have taken all the precautionary measures and therefore there is no fear that production continuity will be maintained. The Chinese partners have transferred all experience of taking these measures from their mines around the world, and that this is another circumstance that will help overcome the epidemic more easily, “the minister said.
Antic reminded that the mining sector is of great importance for Serbia, given the share of this industry in total GDP growth.
“The economic measures presented by President Aleksandar Vucic are yet to show their true strength, and we expect Chinese partners to provide new investment with the necessary support to the Serbian economy after the epidemic. Zijin Bor Copper has allocated $ 800 million for 2020 and 2021 to increase production capacity through the reconstruction of existing and opening new mines, increasing the capacity of the smelter, as well as investing environmental assets, whose effects are already visible, “he added.
Zijin Bor Copper and Rakita Exploration have jointly donated $ 571,000 in Chinese companies’ assistance to Serbia for the procurement of equipment for a laboratory in Niš, which will be used for the tests on corona virus.
Zijin Bor Copper to start production of copper ore at the Novo Cerovo mine
Deputy general director Hu Shaohua said that the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group, plans to start production of copper ore at the Novo Cerovo mine in June. Zijin Bor Copper has purchased a new jaw crusher for Novo Cerovo and a tertiary crusher was ordered for producing finer ore in the mill sections, Hu Shaohua said.
“In accordance with the Serbian legislation and after obtaining all the necessary permits and licenses, access roads to the mines were made, numerous machinery was purchased and about 200 young people were hired,” Shaohua said, as quoted in a statement by Zijin Bor Copper.
In January, Serbian media reported Zijin Bor Copper plans to invest $800 million (705 million euro) in expansion of its production capacity in Serbia in 2020. Zijin aims to launch a project for expansion of the Veliki Krivelj and Majdanpek open-pit mines and to launch an investment aimed at opening the Novo Cerovo copper and gold mine this year.
The Chinese group injected $350 million in the capital of Serbian copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor in December 2018, acquiring majority ownership, and renamed it to Zijin Bor Copper.
Zijin Bor Copper in Serbia increased air pollution
According to the regulations, sulfur dioxide (SO2) in one measuring station can be exceeded only three days a year. This has not been respected in city of Bor for years. Analysis shows that with the privatization of RTB Bor (gold copper mine) at the end of 2018, pollution has increased in this city.
The mesuring station in Bor’s city park, just five minutes from the entrance to the mining basin, records exceedances of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the air for years. Thus, in 2014, the average pollution period was five months, to be reduced to 13 days by 2018, and then jumped to 40 days after the Chinese investment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
Whether lasting 13 or 40 days, high concentrations of pollutants affect the health of Bor residents.
The findings of the Bor Institute for Mining and Metallurgy’s report for 2018 show that in those years the concentrations of SO2 and harmful PM10 particles were higher than allowed, which could have contributed to blood and respiratory diseases. In 2018, arsenic in Bor was 24 times more than allowed. In many places, pollution in Serbia is above the legal limit.
About two-thirds of pre-school children and half of those under 18 in Bor, who in 2014-2018 needed the help of a doctor, had problems with their respiratory organs. They were most commonly affected by the sore throat and tonsils, which is the second most common disease in adults, with nine cases in every 100 inhabitants.
Although dominant, these diseases have a slight downward trend over the five-year period, coupled with declining production of the mining basin and a decrease in air pollution.
After the privatization of RTB Bor, pollution increased again.
Due to the release of hazardous substances into the air, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has initiated several lawsuits against Zijin Bor Copper.
Zi Jin Bor mine company in law procedure with Serbia’s Ministry because of the air pollution in Bor, Serbia
Besides polluting the air, the company did nothing to reduce it, and the Ministry charged Zi Jin and the deputy director of TIR branch Boban Todorovic.
Serbia’s Ministry of Ecology launched a proceeding against the Chinese Zi Jin Bor Copper company for discharging of dangerous substances into the air in November 2019, and January 2020.
The charges include the economic offence which carries between 1.5 and three million Dinars (1 RSD = 0.0085 Euros), fine but a court could pass the punishment equivalent to the damage done.
The Ministry said it controlled the company on several occasions, and in five instances at least it found omissions since Si Jin bought the mining and smelting complex in eastern Serbia at the end of 2018.
The sulfate dioxide concentration in Bor occasionally went up to 8.3 times above the allowed level, the environmental control recorded in November of 2019.
Zijin Company in Bor, environmental issues lead to court in Serbia
The Ministry of the Environment initiated proceedings against Zijin Bor Copper for the release of hazardous substances into the air in November 2019 and January 2020. The ministry has controlled the company several times, and at least five times it has identified failures since the mining basin was privatized in late 2018. While the authorities shift responsibility to each other, the lives of 45,000 Bor citizens are endangered.
At the end of one working week, an employee at Zidjin, formerly RTB Bor, waited for an unpleasant surprise at the door of the administration building – their fellow citizens whistled and shouted: “You betrayed the city. ” With the support of residents of the surrounding towns and political activists, on November 15, 2019, part of Bor residents protested over months because of pollution coming from the mining basin. With the message “Our Health or Your Profit” and with face masks, the Chinese investor was asked to reduce production volumes and thus the air pollution that suffocates them.
“Sulfur dioxide directly damages the health,” Dr. Dragica Radosevic addressed the event. Heavy metals such as arsenic, which can also lead to malignant tumors, are even more dangerous, he explains.
Katarina Vaskovic, a protest participant, complained to the media that life in Bor was quarantined.
“Our children live in quarantine, we can only take them outside when we estimate that there is not so much smoke. Every other kid in the neighborhood gets an asthma pump, ”Vaskovic said.
The protesters supported the speakers for a full two hours.
However, on the day of the protest, Bor was not contaminated. The air did not scratch his throat, and eyes did not tear, as Bor residents otherwise claim, and there was no need to close into homes. Local clean air is explained by the decline in Zidjin’s production of copper and precious metals – because of protests and television cameras.
Data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting in Serbia (CINS) confirms that there was no excessive pollution on the day of the protests, as well as for the next five days, but then came back – stronger than the Air Protection Act allows.
One week after the protest, environmental inspector Emila Tosic visited Zidjin and found that sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations had gone up to 4.6 times the statutory limits during those two days, November 21 and 22. In some hours, the amount of SO2 in the air was 8.3 times higher than allowed, according to the inspector’s report. SO2 is a gas of sharp odor that causes frequent coughing and pharyngeal irritation. It is the cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and is most harmful to children, the elderly and people with chronic lung diseases.
Pollution was measured just a five-minute walk from the mining pool gate, at a station maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in the city park.
In January 2020, the inspection controlled Zidjin and found the same omissions, the documentation obtained by CINS shows.
Due to the release of hazardous substances into the air and the company did nothing to reduce pollution, the proceedings before the Commercial Court in Zajecar against the company Zidjin and the deputy head of the TIR branch causing the problem, Boban Todorovic. They are charged with an economic offense for which a fine of between 1.5 and 3 million dinars has been imposed, and the court can impose a sentence commensurate with the damage done.
Nataša Djereg from the NGO Center for Environment and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) believes that such punishment does not help:
“Our fines are ridiculous – of course it pays for all polluters to continue to pollute, especially at such large plants, to pay the fine and move on. A fine is not a measure, the penalty would be to stop production. ”
Former head of the TIR branch, Paun Jankovic, in an interview with CINS, said stopping production was not in the interest of the majority owner – currently China’s state-owned Zijin International Finance Company Limited (63%), while the Serbian government is the second largest co-owner with 36.9%. Cessation of work means less income, but it can affect problem solving, Jovanovic explains:
“There are technical solutions – to urgently eliminate the causes of this bad show. If necessary, stop production for a week, two weeks, mechanically repair what is needed and then go back to normal. ”
Zijin’s earlier omissions
This is not the first time that Zijin, formerly RTB Bor, has not adhered to the rules. Since the privatization of the mining basin, in December 2018, Inspector Tosic has noticed at least five times various omissions.
As early as April 2019, the inspector had ordered the company to take action against air pollution of the environment, human health and the environment, because it emitted excessive SO2, reports CINS reported. Zijin then explained in a letter to the Ministry of Environment that the power outage had caused pollution.
However, control a few months later, in August, showed another omission – Zijin did not have a system for wet dust removal during the transportation of tailings on the Bor mine, which also threatened human health and the environment. Zijin was ordered to solve the problem, and the company later told the Ministry that a dust suppression system had been installed, which was put to trial.
In November 2019, CINS sought an interview with Zidjin on the topic of air pollution, to which the company responded with a press release. It says that by the end of the year, the company will have a total of five SO2-neutralized dust spray machines. Documentation obtained by CINS shows that by that time, two of the machines purchased had been in operation for about two months, but pollution data showed that it had no significant effect on the reduction of sulfur dioxide – in October the number of days with more SO2 in the air it was slightly smaller.
Zijin announces other investments – a dust and exhaust gas collection plant, and by the end of 2021 the construction of an additional facility to ensure that “the emission of gases is always and fully in line with the prescribed standards”.
Bor residents are not satisfied with communication with the Ministry, as they do not receive answers on measures taken to reduce air pollution.
From a recording of a phone conversation between activist and chairman of the Dveri District Committee, Sasa Stankovic, with Aleksandar Blagojevic of the Ministry’s inspection sector, posted by Bor activists in October 2019 on Facebook page 1 of 5 million Bor, it appears that the inspection does not go out on the field exploration at all but to notify Zijin about the pollution by phone as part of the procedure.
Blagojevic explained that the inspector “called the company and told them that there were exceedances of one-hour values and that they should reduce production or put more fresh raw material than slag.” He also stressed that there is a legal obligation for the City of Bor to adopt a Short-term Action Plan that specifies when Zijin should stop production for several hours or days.
From Municipality they say the Short-term Action Plan has nothing to do with the work of the Republic Inspectorate.
“The inspectors are known to work. When any accident occurs, the inspector goes out to see what is going on, the real record, measures are taken regardless of the Short-term Action Plan. We will see when we come up with a Plan, how much we will be able to influence the work of the company, “said Ljiljana Lekic of the City of Bor’s Environmental Protection Office.
She explained that they started drafting the Plan and that representatives of local environmental associations, including those organizing protests, are involved. Still, Lekic says the plan will only provide guidance for solving the problem.
Toplica Marijanovic, formerly Deputy Director of Environmental Protection at RTB, says the action plan is not binding, and even the inspector cannot ask the polluter to implement it.
“This is an effort for the Ministry, or the state, to shift all responsibility for the state of air quality to local self-government, and local self-government has no power or ability to react in any way in industrial and mining facilities for which the state license is issued,” Marijanović said.
In the meantime, pollution is still present in Bor. SEPA issued a warning that they were dangerous to human health on January 24 and 26 due to the concentration of SO2 at two measurement sites.
While Aleksandar Milikic, Bor Mayor and SNS official, says the pressures are political because the protest is led by Alliance for Serbia member and Dragan Djilas associate, Irena Zivkovic, she, along with three other activists, including Sasa Stankovic from of the Dveri movement, in late November, filed criminal charges against the director of Zijin Bor Koper, Long Ji, the mayor of Bor, and the Minister of the Environment, Goran Trivan.
The Ministry did not respond to CINS’s questions regarding local government control over the adoption of the Short-term Action Plan, or whether it would be able to order production to be halted in Zidjin.
New owner – new pollution
According to the regulations, SO2 in one measuring point may be exceeded only three days a year. It has not been respected in Bor for years. The metering station in the city park, near the mining basin, showed SO2 pollution for an average of five months in 2014, to a total of 13 days by 2018, and then jumped to 40 with a Chinese investor, SEPA data shows.
The findings of the Bor Mining and Metallurgy Institute’s 2018 report are not encouraging. There were more than allowed SO2 and harmful PM10 particles on an annual basis, most commonly affecting blood and respiratory diseases. Arsenic was 24 times more than allowed in Bor. Pollution in Serbia is in many places above the legal limit.
High concentrations of pollutants affect the health of Bor residents.
About two-thirds of pre-school children and half under the age of 18, who in 2014-2018 sought the help of a doctor, had problems with their respiratory organs. They most often suffered from sore throat and tonsils, according to data on the health status of residents of the town of Bor published by the Institute for Public Health Timok in Zajecar.
These inflammations are the second most common disease in adults, with nine cases in every 100 inhabitants.
Although dominant, these diseases have a slight downward trend over the five-year period, coupled with declining production of the mining basin and a decrease in air pollution.
After the privatization of RTB Bor, pollution increased again.
Zijin Mining – environmental progress at the Chukaru Peki Mine in Serbia
An environmental impact study of the Chukaru Peki gold and copper mine owned by China’s Zijin Mining Group was presented to the citizens of Bor.
“I was born in Bor and as mining expert who worked at the RTB Bor mine for forty-two years and was closely related to underground mining for all that period, it was my duty to tell my fellow citizens what I thought of this project and what I officially informed and the line Ministry of Environment. Finally, as a Member of Parliament who has received the support of fellow citizens, it is my duty to represent the interests of this area. ” to the excavation method, which was adopted.
Instead of the previously foreseen method of surface mining, the Chinese owner adopted the method (two variants) of the ore with the preservation of the surface of the terrain above the mine. This is a crucial strategic decision, both for the future development of the mine and for the local and wider community.
“The large-scale degradation of the surface area and the creation of irreparable and irreparable damage to the mine environment have been avoided. With such a decision, in an ecological sense, the project in the field of mining with irreparable damage was translated into the field of mining with damages that can be reduced and significantly repaired. Doing so opens the door wide to align interests and build a harmonious relationship between mine owners – the Chinese company Zijin Mining Group, the local community and the state. “, emphasizes Dr B.Mihajlovic
Compensate for damage to the local population
Since the change of the concept of excavation and adoption of the method with the preservation of the surface of the terrain, the greatest benefit will be given to the local population of the three villages (Brerstovac, Slatina and Metovnica) in whose area the mine will be built. It is well known that the population in these villages is rapidly decreasing from year to year.
Careless, reckless construction of the mine, regardless of the environmental consequences for the local population, as was the case with the previous concept of excavation with surface destruction, but already obvious negative processes would quickly accelerate. That, simply, should not have been allowed. And therefore, the decision to excavate while preserving the surface was welcomed.
The study addressed all potential adverse impacts well and provided solutions for their elimination, mitigation and reduction. It is very realistic that all these measures, with good organization and cooperation of mines with the local population, can be realized. If this is achieved, the harmony of the relationship will be established, which is quite sure, a long-term interest of both parties. Particular attention should be paid to watercourses and the hydrological situation in the field. Then, to compensate for the obvious damage that hunters, beekeepers, vegetable growers and livestock farmers will suffer from possible drying of wells, etc. Remedying these consequences is a small and costly expense for the company, but it is crucial for the locals because “When a mouse steps on an elephant, it does not feel it, but when an elephant steps on a mouse, it hurts a lot.”
Locals should also be an absolute priority when hiring. With a measured and well-planned employment policy, the degressive trends of the local population could be stopped and even reversed. This would be the biggest success in the social component of the project and should be pursued.
Another significant advantage mentioned in the study is the use of flotation tailings for backfilling excavated areas in the mine. In this way, the amount of flotation tailings that will be deposited on the surface of the terrain will be reduced to only 30% of the total amount (the previous concept was that 100% of the tailings were deposited on the surface), while the remaining 70% will be returned to the mine and thus preserved. surface of the terrain. This achieves a double ecological effect – and protects the terrain surface from being clogged and reduces surface degradation in the tailings disposal area.
The presence of arsenic in the concentrate and the risk of its processing in the Bor Metallurgical Complex
The study also has one significant negative environmental component, which can easily (and should) be avoided: it envisages processing of part of the produced concentrate in the Bor metallurgical complex, which can cause unintended environmental consequences.
World experience gained from the processing of copper ore with an increased amount of arsenic indicates that the amount of arsenic in the concentrate increases by up to ten times during flotation processing. Therefore, efforts should be made to reduce the concentration of arsenic in environmentally friendly frames in the ore processing process.
“I also suggest that during the planned expansion of metallurgical capacities, one part should be enabled for environmentally friendly processing of concentrates with increased arsenic content. Because of the extreme importance to the wider community, I believe that this concept should be made known to the public.”, concludes Dr B.Mihajlovic.