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China's Zijin aims to double mined gold output in 5 years amid overseas push

Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. is aiming to double its gold production in the next five years as the company looks to build up its international presence, even though it expects to miss output targets for 2019, a company executive said.

The company, a leading gold producer in China, will work on ramping up its overall production of mined gold, copper and zinc and will try to double its mined gold production from the current level in the next three to five years, George Fang, executive director and senior vice president of Zijin, told delegates Oct. 15 at LBMA's Global Precious Metals Conference in Shenzhen in the Chinese province of Guangdong.

Fang said the company, which started engaging in overseas M&A in 2005, will focus on building up its presence in the global market, adding that "going out" following the route of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by the Chinese government will be a major topic of the company's strategic plan in the next five years.

The company's mined gold production from overseas assets now accounts for more than half of its overall output, while reserves abroad represent about 75% of the company's total, according to Fang.

"In the coming three to five years, we will be paying more attention to gold mining operations. After this year, you will see some changes happen," Fang said, without going into details of how it would achieve the increase in output.

Since 2015, Zijin's mined gold output has remained between 36.5 tonnes and 42.6 tonnes, and the company expects to produce 38.2 tonnes of gold this year, Fang said in a presentation. Copper production and zinc production for 2019 are estimated at 342,000 tonnes and 373,000 tonnes, respectively. Fang's output estimates are below the company's full-year production guidance, which set a target of 40 tonnes for gold, 350,000 tonnes for copper and 380,000 tonnes for copper, according to a recent Reuters report.

Speaking of the company's internationalization plans, Fang said the company will seek more opportunities to deepen collaboration with existing business partners, such as its tie-up with Barrick Gold Corp. over the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.

Earlier in October at a mining conference in Tianjin, China, Fang said, "We are targeting to be a major player in the global gold, copper and zinc markets by 2020.

"By 2030, Zijin's goal is to become a tier-one mining corporation in the world and another 'Huawei' in the mining sector."