BRI creates demand for China’s Zijin Mining to go global, drives innovation: representative
26 Jul 2021


Chinese mining company Zijin Mining's overseas business development has benefited from China’s rapid economic growth, as well as the company's active participation in co-building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said Chen Jinghe, executive director and chairman of the board of the company.


Many countries and regions along the BRI routes are rich in mineral resources and are major suppliers of raw mineral materials for global markets, making up nearly 400 super-large and large mineral deposits and nearly 200 kinds of mineral resources, with iron ore reserves accounting for 42 percent, copper 17 percent and gold 21 percent of the world total, according to public data.  


"In terms of overseas development, Zijin should not only pay attention to the endowment effect of mineral resources, but also the guidance and support from central and local governments,” said Chen, noting that going global is a necessary choice for the company, especially under the BRI.


As the industrialization process of countries and regions along the BRI routes steadily advances, decarbonization-oriented new energy industries are developing rapidly, creating new demand for raw mineral materials.  


"Based on the core competitiveness of innovation, Zijin has formed a self-featured comparative advantage in mining technology and engineering,” Chen told the Belt and Road Portal.


On December 18, 2018, Zijin won the public competition to become the strategic partner of Serbia's state-owned Mining and Smelting Combine Bor, located some 250 kilometers southeast of the capital Belgrade. This allows Zijin to hold 65 percent of ownership over Bor, Serbia's sole producer of copper and precious metals, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency.


For more than two decades before that, the Bor Mine had been among the most unprofitable Serbian companies, its roughly 5,000 employees facing the risk of losing their jobs.


When operating the mine, Zijin made great efforts to promote technological innovation, strengthen management of each stage of production, and purchase cutting-edge technological equipment, in order to improve production efficiency and reduce production and operation costs.


Three months after Zijin took over the operation of the Serbian mine, all production and operation indicators have seen a gradual increase, and after half a year the project started to make a profit. In 2019, Zijin Bor Copper saw a significant increase in its output of major products such as copper, gold and silver, with its net profit increasing 317 percent year-on-year. In 2020, the project produced 52,000 tons of copper and generated 4.8 billion yuan ($740.6 million) in revenue and 600 million yuan in earnings.


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic once praised Zijin Mining for having “revived” Serbia's century-old mine, which sets an example for Chinese companies investing in Serbia. “I want to express my respect and gratitude with the most beautiful words,” he said.


As the company strives to boost mining development in Serbia, Zijin also paid attention to their social responsibility by improving local development, raising people's living conditions, and introducing advanced technologies, according to Chen.


With Zijin going into operation, locals who previously faced the risk of unemployment had their jobs guaranteed. By the end of 2020, Zijin Bor Copper had 5,423 employees, with their average income rising by a third more than before to around 6,000 yuan, which is more than the national average income of Serbia.


Zijin is also focused on environmental protection in its mining development. “We want to promote sustainable development, explore effective ways to control carbon emission, and incorporate the idea of ‘lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets' into our overseas practices,” Chen said.


"The BRI has allowed Chinese companies to gain a firmer foothold in the global market,” Chen noted.


Zijin Mining has mining investment projects in 12 countries, most of which are countries along the BRI routes.


Source: Belt and Road Portal