On August 21, Zijin Mining announced it is acquiring a 48.591% interest in Tibet Zhonghui Industrial for RMB1.646 billion, or almost US$226 million, which will give the company a relative controlling interest in the Zhunuo Copper Mine, an undeveloped, ultra-large copper mine in Tibet, China. According to the agreement signed for the acquisition, Zijin Mining will take leadership of the construction and operational phase for the mine.
The Zhunuo Copper Mine is situated in Ngamring County, Xigazê, Tibet. According to a detailed exploration report submitted in June 2023 by the Geological Exploration Team 2 of the Tibet Geological Exploration Bureau, the mine has 2.2 Mt of contained copper, at an average grade of 0.62%, and an additional 1.34 Mt of copper contained in low-grade ores, grading 0.29%. Zhunuo is a rare undeveloped, ultra-large copper mine in China, with a shallow orebody that is thick in the centre and thin around the perimeter.
The project’s mining and processing operations will be located at 4,460 to 5,850 m above sea level. Zijin Mining points out that it has accumulated successful experience in building and operating projects at high altitudes in Qinghai, Xinjiang and Tibet. According to a preliminary plan, Zijin Mining will employ its high-altitude open-pit mining technology that is intelligent, low-carbon, and eco-friendly, and its intelligent processing technology, to develop the project. This will turn Zhunuo into a green and intelligent mine site.
The design capacity of its open-pit mining and processing facilities is 24 Mt/y. Excluding the mine construction period, the project is expected to have a mine life of 20 years, with an average copper output of 99,000 t/y after reaching nameplate capacity.
To date, Zijin Mining has invested more than RMB30 billion in Tibet. It holds controlling interests in Julong Copper and lithium producer Lakkor Resources, and is the second-largest shareholder of Tibet-based companies such as Yulong Copper and Tianyuan Mining.
By the end of 2022, Zijin Mining owned 73.72 Mt of untapped copper resources (excluding those of the Zhunuo Project), ranking 8th in the global mining sector and equivalent to more than half of China’s total. In 2022, the company contributed 40% of the global net increment in mined copper output, it says establishing itself as the world’s fastest-growing copper producer.
With the addition of the Zhunuo copper project and the ongoing development of the Julong copper mine, Zijin says its Tibet business is poised to become one of the most important drivers for its copper production, further strengthening the company’s copper resource base and increasing its copper output in China.
Source: International Mining