Chinese-invested copper mine in Serbia still ‘in operation,’ contrary to reports
Published: Apr 15, 2021 10:08 PM
A steel manufacturing firm in Taizhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, is busy making supporting equipment for overseas mining on Thursday. Domestic and international demand continues to pick up, and opportunities brought by carbon neutrality and new infrastructure have led to a rapid rise in industrial investment. Photo: cnsphoto

A steel manufacturing firm in Taizhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, is busy making supporting equipment for overseas mining on Thursday. Photo: cnsphoto

Serbia's Jama mine, part of the Chinese-invested RTB Bor copper complex and the country's only copper quarry, is still in operation, contrary to media reports suggesting the mine had ceased to operate, according to multiple sources.

In response to recent news reports that Serbia halted the mine over environmental breaches, a source at the Chinese firm involved in the project told the Global Times on Thursday that the mine is still running smoothly, and only new mining facilities under construction were ordered to suspend work.

Another source familiar with the matter told Global Times on Thursday that work on the shaft was paused due to noise pollution and the construction will resume after rectification, which is scheduled to be done by the end of April.

The Serbian Mining and Energy Ministry suspended the Chinese firm's construction of a shaft in a local copper mine after it failed to meet environmental standards, according to media reports.

Serbian Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic reportedly said that the government had suspended the construction of several mining facilities of Zijin Mining because they might pollute the River Pek. 

Following the reports, some Western media outlets jumped on the story and suggested that the mine's operation was halted.

However, the operation at the mine continues and Serbia is still seeking more Chinese firms to invest in the country's mining sector. 

Serbia has huge potential in copper production, Mihajlovic said recently, while meeting with Shen Shaoyeng, vice president of Zijin Mining, via video link.

Zijin Mining, one of the largest gold miners in China, became a strategic partner in the RTB Bor copper quarry in 2018, pledging to invest $1.26 billion over the subsequent six years for a 63-percent stake.

"You are welcome in Serbia, to talk about current and future investments, especially bearing in mind that a new mine Cukaru Peki will be opened this year," Mihajlovic stated, read a statement posted on the ministry's website in late March. 

The minister added that Chinese companies contribute to economic development in Serbia and that the country would improve business environment.

Shares of the Shanghai-listed miner closed 2.82 percent higher on Thursday, compared with a 0.52-percent decline in the flagship Shanghai Composite Index. 

Separately, the Chinese miner announced earlier in April that together with its Canadian partner, Barrick Gold, it is having a constructive discussion with the government of Papua New Guinea on a framework agreement for the reopening of the Porgera Gold Mine, which was suspended for a year due to license renewal and other issues.

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