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China Approves USD2.4 Billion Plan for World’s Biggest Copper Mine

China has greenlit a CNY17.5 billion (USD2.4 billion) plan to expand the Julong copper mine in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which will make it the world’s largest single copper mine newly put into production this century.

Regulators approved the mine’s second phase, which will raise daily ore mining and processing capacity to 350,000 tons from 150,000 tons to reach an annual amount of more than 100 million tons, according to separate statements on Feb. 23 from Zijin Mining Group and Zangge Mining, the project’s two largest investors.

The open-pit second phase is expected to start operation by the end of 2025 and have a service life of 36 years. It will boost Julong’s annual output of mineral copper to 300,000 to 350,000 tons from 154,000 tons and that of mineral molybdenum to 13,000 tons from 5,000 tons.

First-phase operation began at the end of 2021, with a designated annual copper production capacity of about 160,000 tons.

Zijin and Zangge own 50.1 percent and 30.8 percent of Julong, respectively. Zijin acquired its stake for about CNY3.9 billion (USD539 million) in June 2020.

Julong also owns the rights to two smaller mines in the adjacent area.

Shares of Zijin [SHA: 601899] closed 2.6 percent down at CNY13.15 (USD1.83) each in Shanghai today. Zangge [SHE: 000408] ended 0.5 percent up at CNY27.83 in Shenzhen, after earlier soaring to its highest point since December 2022.

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