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Julong Phase 1 of Zijin Mining starts production

Zijin News - On December 27, Tibet Julong Copper, an affiliate of Zijin Mining Group, held a ceremony to commence the commercial production of its Phase 1, which is expected to produce 160,000 tonnes of copper per annum after it reaches nameplate capacity.

Zijin Mining bought a 50.1% stake in Julong Copper for RMB 3.88 billion in June 2020. The Tibetan company owns three mineral licenses: the Qulong Copper and Polymetallic Mine, the Rongmucuola Copper Mine, and the Zhibula Copper and Polymetallic Mine.

Located on the Tibetan plateau at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,400 meters, Julong Copper features huge reserves, low grade, and high elevation. It has a proven resource of 10.72 million tonnes of copper content and 570,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

Thanks to Zijin Mining’s expertise in the exploration and development of low-grade deposits, Julong copper will be able to tap into its massive resources grading 0.2% copper, putting its total ore resources at over 20 million tonnes.

To begin commercial production at the mine in 2021, the Zijin team at the company worked actively to address legacy problems and ensure compliance.

Together with over 50 contractors, it launched a major construction campaign.

To empower the mine with more digital and automation technologies across its activities, it optimized engineering plans and construction schedules, and addressed engineering bottlenecks and over 100 problems in safety, design, construction, installation, and commissioning.

At the peak of the construction campaign, more than 7,000 people were involved. The company began cold commissioning on its processing system in only 16 months and commenced trial production at its Phase 1100 Ktpd project in 18 months.

After Phase 1 starts commercial production, Julong Copper is expected to produce 120,000 to 130,000 tonnes of copper in 2022, including volumes from the Zhibula Mine.

The new Julong Copper has delivered positive changes to the local economy, society, people’s lives and employment. In 2021 alone, it spent about 120 million yuan in donations, assistance to local industries, and relocation compensation in Jiama town, Maizhokunggar county. The company also hired about 780 Tibetan university graduates and workers, and generated about 24.5 million yuan in income for its Tibetan employees.

With the support of Zijin Mining, Julong Copper recruited 86 Tibetans to join a newly designed, one-year training program at the Zijin School of Geology and Mining of Fuzhou University, developing a new generation of mine managers and technicians.

Zijin Mining has given top priority to ecological conservation from the outset of the project’s construction. It introduced clean energy and took steps to reduce carbon emissions, aiming to build a mega mining complex low in emissions and energy consumption.

During project construction, Julong Copper invested RMB 116 million to restore 1.72 million m2 of land. It planted 170,000 trees and shrubs, investigated the biodiversity within its mining concession. It constantly improved the engineering of its project, to minimize disturbance to wildlife and their habitats.

Nowadays, like a green picture gently unfolding, Julong Copper is covered in green grass, dotted with willows, aspens, sea buckthorn, Galsang flowers, and golden rape flowers.

In the future, the company will strive to build a garden-like green mine, and develop itself into a model project for ecological restoration at high-altitude mines. It will also explore a green development path where mining and environmental protection activities proceed in tandem and reinforce each other.

Chen Jinghe, Chairman of Zijin Mining Group, said that the Julong Copper project began production just over a year after construction was resumed, setting a new benchmark in the development of high-altitude mines.

He noted that Phase 1 of Julong Copper adds more copper production capacity, and will help ease the copper shortage in China.

Julong Copper is currently working on its master development plan, with its Phase 2 and 3 designed to focus on the comprehensive development and utilization of low-grade resources.

If the projects are approved by the government, Julong Copper is ultimately expected to mine and process about 200 million tonnes of ore and produce over 600,000 tonnes of copper content per annum, which will make it the world’s largest mine by mining and processing capacity, and a green one built to high standards.