2024 New Year’s Message from Chairman Chen Jinghe
2023/12/31 9399


As we enter 2024 with renewed hope, on behalf of Zijin Mining, I wish you all a happy New Year. I thank our employees and contractors for their hard work and our host governments and communities for their ongoing support. According to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Dragon, a promising year that heralds our ascent to new heights.



In 2023, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Zijin Mining. Over the past thirty years, we grew from a small local government-owned firm into a Forbes & Fortune 500 company and a well-known global metals miner. At thirty, Zijin is a dynamic business in its prime, poised to grow and reach the next level.


2023 was a landmark year for Zijin. We held a strategy meeting attended by our board of directors and executive team, which had just begun their tenure. At the conference, we determined our future directions and steps. We resolved to address the main challenge we face: the mismatch between our growing global footprint and our confined Chinese way of thinking and management. We also announced our overarching principle for the coming three years: improving quality, controlling costs, and boosting profitability. Guided by this strategy, we have been sharpening our competitive edge and refining our global operational and management system, to achieve green and sustainable growth.


The year 2023 also marked the start of the second phase of our three-step strategy that spans from 2021 to 2030. Faced with a troubled economic recovery from the pandemic, we remained steadfast in our belief and delivered solid operational results.

Our output of gold, copper and other key metals continued to grow rapidly, making us one of the world’s few leading miners that have maintained production growth for years. Notably, we have a higher chance to produce more than 1 million tonnes of mined copper this year.

The prices of our A and H shares have jumped by 26% and 23% respectively from the end of 2022. Our market cap has topped RMB 310 billion, ranking us 23rd among companies listed on the A-share market. After more than three years of difficult negotiations, the Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea finally resumed production at the end of the year. It will be a significant contributor to our gold output and profits.


We achieved much in both acquisition and in-house led exploration. Shortly after our takeover, Rosebel Gold Mines in Suriname delivered profits and became one of our major sources of mined gold and profits. We acquired the Zhunuo Copper Mine in Xizang and the Kharmagtai Copper-Gold Mine in Mongolia. We took leadership in the exploration and development of the world-class Manono Northeast Lithium Project. We also made important findings from exploration programs at the depth of the Tongshan Copper Mine in Heilongjiang, the lithium-bearing polymetallic mine in Daoxian, Hunan, and the Bor region in Serbia.


Our key construction projects advanced smoothly. We completed de-bottlenecking projects for the Kamoa-Kakula Phase I and II concentrators in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the concentrator plant of the Upper Zone of Serbia Zijin Mining, and the smelter operated by Serbia Zijin Copper. We also commissioned the pressure oxidation project of the Taror Gold Mine in Tajikistan.  Recently operational expansion projects at Longnan Zijin and Shanxi Zijin have contributed considerable production volumes. Early works of the Phase II of Julong Copper in Xizang have picked up pace. And the Phase I projects of our lithium portfolio - the “two lakes and one mine”, have been largely completed.


We achieved steady progress in key research projects. Notable advances have been made in our research on block caving and its application in the development of four projects: The Duobaoshan Copper Mine in Heilongjiang, the Luoboling Copper-Molybdenum Mine in Fujian, the Lower Zone of the Čukaru Peki Mine and the Jama Copper Mine in Serbia. We held our 7th Science and Technology Conference to help drive the high-quality development of the mining industry and boost our technological competitiveness. Significantly, the event was attended by fourteen fellows of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.


We deepened the reform on our global operational system, with the Overseas Operations Department of our headquarters moved to Belgrade, Serbia, close to the front lines of our operations. Our pursuit of Development for All has been applauded by our host countries and communities. We ranked among the top miners in ESG ratings published by mainstream rating agencies such as S&P Global. With recent additions, we now have 12 national green mines and 7 national green plants in China. We are also proud to have won the China Charity Award for the fourth time.


However, these hard-won achievements were overshadowed by the challenges we faced during the year. The first was an extremely serious situation in safety. The multiple accidents that affected our construction contractors were heartbreaking and serve as a loud wake-up call for us. We are way behind leading global peers in our safety practices.

The operations of our Buriticá Gold Mine in Colombia were repeatedly disrupted by illegal mining groups, resulting in serious casualties. We also failed to effectively keep costs from rising, especially at our overseas projects, affecting investment returns. In addition, with the precipitous plunge in lithium carbonate prices, our lithium business fell short of expectations.



Globally, we are in the midst of profound changes unseen in a century, with pervasive uncertainty, heightened geopolitical risks, and rising downward pressure on the economy. Nonetheless, peace and development remain the prevailing trend of our times.


China is undergoing economic restructuring. It faces a host of challenges: a lack of economic vitality, a troubled real estate industry, even the burgeoning renewable energy sector is plagued by overcapacity and sanctions. Nevertheless, China is a vast market with strong resilience and tremendous potential. We are confident that it will emerge from these difficulties stronger.


Mining provides the lifeblood of industry and energy sectors, it has been re-affirmed as an essential industry of the economy. The security of strategic mineral supply has become the focus of world powers’ attention, with intensified efforts for competition and decoupling in the area. Some countries restrict the use of components and critical minerals from so called “foreign entities of concern”, which will significantly impact China’s manufacturing sector. Further, the rise of resource nationalism is amplifying the risks for mining investors.


China, a country that consumes 40% to 50% of the world’s mineral supply, is transitioning from the advanced stage of industrialization to a post-industrial economy, leading to a major shift in its growth model. Its demand for traditional sources of energy and base metals has peaked, heralding the end of a super cycle that lasted for more than two decades in the 21st century.

However, new opportunities are emerging, bringing bright prospects for the mining industry. The global push towards carbon peaking and neutrality is spurring demand for new-energy metals such as copper and lithium. Meanwhile, the price of gold, a ballast for financial security, is expected to rise with US rate cuts in sight.


As a major global metals miner, Zijin is committed to becoming a green, high-tech, leading global mining company. We take pride in our solid base of strategic resources and enormous production capacities, bolstered by our excellent operational performance and strong cash flow. Our technological and engineering capabilities across the mining value chain represent a strong comparative advantage. Having weathered multiple industry recessions, we have all the conditions necessary to scale new heights. Moreover, a tougher external environment provides historic opportunities for the strongest performers to stand out and shine.



The year of the dragon will bring prosperity and good fortune. It is the second year in the three-year tenure of our Board and management, and a pivotal year for us to make further strides in quality, cost control, and profitability. We will focus on sustainable development and bring down costs to maximize economic and social benefits and achieve greater success across all aspects of our business.


Improving quality for safe and sustainable corporate development


We will make a turnaround in safety weakness. Respecting the right to life, the most important human right, is a non-negotiable principle in our ESG policies. Compromising human life is never an option. Everyone in the company must embrace the principle of “life first”. We will take decisive, even painful, measures to turn the situation around. Our goal is clear: to achieve zero fatalities and set safety benchmarks for the industry.


We will take a series of measures. First, we will implement our Three-Year Safety Enhancement Action Plan to upgrade our safety management system. Second, we will tailor our approach to the temporary and phased nature of construction projects. Third, we will ensure that all our operations adopt the best practices of Ashele Copper, incorporating contractors into safety management and introducing the Front-line Work Method and the Safety Credit System. In addition, we will continue enforcing the “No Safety, No Excellence” rule in our operations, and ensure anyone who undermines Zijin’s reputation is held accountable, up to their dismissal if necessary.


We will improve our corporate governance. To control capital and operational expenditures at our overseas projects over the next two years, we will establish the Overseas Operations Management Committee to coordinate resources and bring rising costs under control across such fields as construction, logistics, procurement, personnel, and engineering. Through the wider use of digital, automated, and intelligent technologies and equipment, our operations will be more self-reliant, streamlined, standardized, and efficient.


We will maintain high standards in environmental protection. Having pledged to peak our emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, we will take effective steps to de-carbonize and strictly assess our projects’ performance in the area. We will also build up a portfolio of carbon assets and more swiftly develop carbon neutrality pilots and demonstration bases. Moreover, by stepping up ecological protection efforts and enhancing our restoration capabilities, we aim to set the global benchmark in balancing resource extraction with environmental stewardship.


We will avoid investing in low-return projects. Our focus is on improv-ing investment quality and returns and fostering a responsible and prudent approach to investment. To this end, we will implement rigorous controls over capital expenditure and projects not related to production. We will also halt ineffective and low-return projects and divest from them where appropriate. These steps will help lower our debt-to-asset ratio and make us more risk-resilient.


Controlling costs to reassert Zijin’s comparative advantage


We will take firm action to keep costs from rising. The current economic environment is favorable for efforts to control costs. We have made cost management a high priority for 2024, especially at our overseas projects. They must leverage Zijin’s managerial and technical expertise in maintaining low costs and bring down their unit costs from 2023 levels.


We will exercise strict control over construction investments. To achieve this, we will rely on Zijin’s innovation philosophy and Five-Pronged Mining and Operational Model, as well as our group-wide resources and capabilities. In particular, a budgeting & pre-settlement team for our overseas operations will be created to review their project investments during the budgeting and settlement processes. 

To develop our strategic businesses at the right pace, in 2024, we will prioritize construction investments in large projects that produce our main metal products and those that could deliver rapid returns. 

Further, we will promote owner-operated practice across our global operations and grow our in-house capabilities in mine construction, geo-technical engineering, installation, procure-ment, and logistics.


We will tightly control expenditures on personnel and non-production items. The growth rate of our labor costs must be kept below those of our metal output and profits. Focusing on value creation, we will hire and train talent for key roles, while weeding out those who offer minimal contri-butions. Meanwhile, we will continue to localize our workforce and enhance the global competence of our people.


We will drive down procurement, logistics and warehousing costs. We aim to build effective procurement and logistics networks managed by Zijin, harnessing the power of information technology to achieve transparency. This approach will help us significantly reduce our costs, given the intense competition among material and equipment suppliers amid the global economic downturn.


Innovation and digitization will empower our cost management. Leveraging our technological strength in integrated project management, we will develop holistic solutions that maximize both economic and social benefits. We will use digital platforms to manage, review, and approve all of our operational activities, eliminating any potential for manipulation.


Boosting profitability to enhance global competitiveness


We will drive growth in production and profitability across our key projects. With the aim of significantly increasing our copper and gold production over the next five years, we will speedily build and commission incremental copper projects while unlocking the potential of our gold operations to capitalize on high gold prices. Building on our world-class lithium resources, we will strive to become one of the world’s leading lithium producers in five years and make lithium an important driver of our growth. 


Furthermore, greater synergy will be generated between our zinc and silver segments, and our operations in smelting, construction, finance, trading, and logistics. In terms of investments, we will expand our pool of portfolio companies and enhance our financing capabilities and risk resilience. We will pursue counter-cyclical M&A deals at low costs to grow our resource base, production capacity and profitability. In addition, we will consider building critical mineral hubs in attractive mining jurisdictions to process materials we produce overseas.


Our global presence will benefit more and more people. Beyond mere economic returns, we are also delivering social benefits, creating a synergistic effect. Deeply embedded in these actions is our mission of Mining for a Better Society. As such, we will forge a shared future with all stakeholders. In this process, we will continually enhance our ESG performance and help improve living standards in our host communities.


Zijin is already at the forefront of the global metals mining industry, yet our ambitions extend even further. Our foundation is strong and our future bright, but we also face daunting challenges. With the drive to establish Zijin as a green, high-tech, leading global mining company underway, we find ourselves at an opportune moment. It is indeed both a privilege and a source of immense pride to be part of this journey. Now, let us join hands to realize this ambitious vision!


董事长 陈景河


Chen Jinghe

Executive Chairman

Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd.

 December 31, 2023