Chen Jinghe: Our goal regarding the Bor mining basin is to become the largest in Europe in the next five years

Zijin plans to increase the annual capacity of the projects in Bor and Majdanpek to 450,000 tons of copper and 10 tons of gold, which will make Serbia the largest producer in Europe. We are ready to invest and we are convinced that in five years Bor mines will be the first in Europe and the leading in the world. Achieving this goal will have a great impact on the economy and society in Bor District, said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zijin Mining Group Chen Jinghe. He added that the lack of electric power infrastructure, the relocation of the population, and slow state administration are the main challenges on the way to further development and growth of production in the mines in Bor and Majdanpek. – Chinese Zijin, which operates in 15 countries, registers record production, and almost a quarter of that production is “carried” by Serbian mines. – Last year, Zijin produced 1.01 million tons of copper and 68 tons of gold, and only in Serbia 240,000 thousand tons of copper and 7.5 tons of gold were produced. We are currently in the phase of defining five-year plans, and our goal is to reduce carbon emissions in all mines, that is, to create green mines, said Chen Jinghe.

CHINA. – Intending to present business plans, goals, and results to the Serbian public, as well as introduce them to the technology and principles of green mining, the leading producer of copper and gold – Zijin Mining Group organized (from April 20 to 26) a seven-day workshop for a group of journalists from Serbia a visit to the local mine and smelter. The media had the opportunity to see the open pit of their first copper and gold mine “Zijinshan” in Shanghang, which is the cradle of mining in China, and then the copper smelter “Zijin Copper”. Impeccable organization and extraordinary hospitality accompanied the group of local and national press teams all the time, and the Chinese corporation showed its high level of business acumen by arranging a meeting and conversation with the Head of the Zijin Mining Group. The Chairman of the board of directors of the Chinese corporation, Chen Jinghe, answered questions from the press for less than two hours, which, as expected, mostly related to Zijin’s business plans in Serbia, i.e., in Bor and Majdanpek.

Electric trucks

On World Earth Day (April 22), Serbian media visited the “Zijinshan” copper and gold mine in Shanghang. This mine in the south of China is the first that Zijin opened, and the first to receive the epithet – the green mine. A thousand people are employed at the surface mine alone (with the accompanying factories, the number of workers is 4,000), and 70 percent of the machinery works – on electricity. Ore is transported by about a hundred trucks with a capacity of 100 tons, most of which are electrically powered. The management’s commitment to environmental protection is visible at every step, and the mining floors where the exploitation has ended speak in support of this. The steep slopes of the mine “terraces” were greened using the hydroseeding method.

Sustainable mining and green technologies are our first task, and the reclamation of degraded land is already a well-established practice. Greening is carried out in three steps: the first is the arrangement of slopes on the mine, the second is the installation of nets and the third is hydroseedingLai Guihua, director of the “Zijinshan” mine, told reporters.

Guihua added that there is also underground mining, where around 6,000 tons of ore are excavated per day, and robotic vehicles are used for transportation.

As a reminder, for the development of the Majdanpek and Bor mines, Zijin Mining Group announced investments of about 3.8 billion dollars in September of last year. Analyzes, however, showed that this is not enough, because new technologies require larger investments. The Head of the Chinese corporation confirmed that investments are being prepared that will exceed four billion dollars, that there are ambitious plans for mines in Bor and Majdanpek, and that Zijin plans to double production in Serbia in the next five years.

Future investments will be focused on the development of underground deposits, since two-thirds of the resources in our projects in Serbia are located at a depth between one thousand and two thousand meters. Estimated copper reserves amount to about 20 million tons, and gold reserves from 700 to 800 tons. The excavation of those resources requires the use of advanced mining techniques, so that will be the focus of future investments. When it comes to open pit mining, investments will be focused on improving infrastructure. The company plans to increase the annual capacity of the projects in Bor and Majdanpek to 450,000 tons of copper and 10 tons of gold, which will make Serbia the largest producer in Europe. We are ready to invest and we are convinced that in five years Bor mines will be the first in Europe and the leading in the world. Achieving this goal will have a great impact on the economy and society in the Bor region – said the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zijin Mining Group, Chen Jinghe.

The lack of electric power infrastructure, relocation of the population, and slow state administration are, he said, the main challenges on the way to further development and growth of production in the mines in Bor and Majdanpek.

It is necessary to strengthen the infrastructure, above all the energy infrastructure. Because the lack of electricity is one of the main factors that limit the further development of our mines in Serbia. Next, speed up the issuance of permits for the procurement of modern green technologies. We are working to reduce carbon dioxide in all mines, and that is why we need the support of the government to speed up permits for modern mining environmental technologies, which Serbia has not had in that area so far. And the most important thing is to strengthen cooperation with the local community. Our determination to continue investing in Serbia is firm, and our goal is to double the capacity within five years. However, taking into account the current challenges, it could take until 2030, with the joint effort of all parties – Chen Jinghe told reporters.

Copper metallurgy identical in Shanghang and Bor

It was heard from Chen Yanjin, the general manager of the “Zijin Koper” smelter in China, that after the modernization that lasted two and a half years, the smelter in Bor now has almost identical conditions to the one in Shanghang.
A high level of copper processing, environmental protection, and safety at work are also priorities in metallurgy, not only in mining. At the time when the Smelter in Bor was closed due to reconstruction and expansion, the concentrate was transported to be processed here – said Yanjin.

Last year, Zijin produced 1.01 million tons of copper and 68 tons of gold, and 240,000 thousand tons of copper and 7.5 tons of gold were produced only in Serbia.

We are currently in the phase of defining five-year plans. Our goal is to reduce carbon emissions in all mines, that is, to create green mines. In our mines in China, we have started testing electric trucks and we plan to use them in Serbia as well. Electric trucks are not only more environmentally friendly but also more economical – said Chen.

Five and a half years have passed since the privatization of RTB Bor. Chinese Zijin, which operates in 15 countries, registers record production, and almost a quarter of that production is “carried” by Serbian mines.

Last year was a record year. We had a five percent increase in profit compared to 2022 and achieved excellent results in terms of cost control, efficiency improvements, and operations. Our two subsidiaries – Serbia Zijin Koper and Serbia Zijin Mining, and their share in the corporation, when it comes to production and profit, amounts to 24 percentZou Laichang, President of the Zijin Mining Group, announced to journalists the day before. He underlined that all mines operating within the Zijin corporation work in accordance with the highest environmental standards.