China Zijin starts production at Tibet’s giant copper mine

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Dec 27 (Reuters) – Miner Zijin said on Monday it started production at its Qulong copper mine in Tibet, one of the largest in China, the world’s largest consumer of metals, adding a new source of supply to the market. for next year.

Zijin took control of the Qulong mine about 18 months ago when it bought a 50.1% stake in operator Tibet Julong Copper Co and quickly resumed construction on the project.

Julong Copper is expected to produce 120,000-130,000 tonnes of copper in 2022, including volumes from Qulong Phase 1 and the Zhibula mine, which is also located in Tibet, Zijin said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. .

“Once Phase 1 reaches designated production capacity, the annual copper production volume will be approximately 160,000 tonnes,” he added.

The market expects the tension in the copper concentrates market seen in recent years to ease in 2022 as increased production gets underway.

Zijin said Julong Copper had applied to merge the mining rights to the Qulong mine and the adjacent Rongmucuola mine, arguing that they belong to the same copper ore body. After the merger, the mine will be renamed Julong and Phases 2 and 3 will continue, he added.

“If the project gets approvals from the relevant government authorities, a final extraction and processing scale of approximately 200 million tons of minerals per year can be achieved, and it will become the copper mine with the largest extraction and processing scale. largest in the world, “said Zijin.

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Edited in Spanish by Javier Leira)

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