Jiangxi looks to Peru for concentrate boost

Jiangxi Copper`s self-sufficiency in copper concentrate will be significantly boosted by its proposed joint acquisition of Northern Peru Copper Co (Noc), the company told MB.

This year Jiangxi will produce some 150,000 tonnes of copper concentrates from its own Chinese mines, supplying just 30 percent of this year`s expected production of 500,000 tonnes. The balance is made up from imports.

But following the launch of a new smelter in September, the company`s capacity is now 700,000 tpy.

Noc`s key Galeno copper-and-gold resource, based in Peru, is expected to produce an average of 200,000 tpy in the first five years of its life, a large proportion of which could be supplied to Jiangxi, according to officials at the Chinese company.

"As Noc controls the Galeno mine, our concentrate supplies will be significantly boosted after the full development of the mine," said one official. "However, the specific figure is not available yet."

Jiangxi Copper, China`s biggest copper smelter, has agreed to buy Noc with China Minmetals Nonferrous Metals Co Ltd (Minmetals) in a deal worth C$455 million ($450 million) (MB Dec 6).

Noc has not set a date for commissioning its Galeno mine, but Jiangxi and Minmetals said they may spend three to four years developing it. A feasibility study carried out by Northern Copper is due to be completed in the middle of next year.

"Noc has already been a supplier of our copper concentrate," said a second Jiangxi official.

Noc is a Vancouver- and Lima-based copper exploration company that controls the Galeno project, which boasts 3.3 million tonnes of copper reserves, 79 tonnes of gold and 86,000 tonnes of molybdenum.

Jiangxi Copper and Minmetals plan to set up a joint venture for the management of the Noc with an investment of 1.15 billion yuan ($155.5 million). Minmetals will hold 60 percent of total stake while Jiangxi copper will hold the remaining 40 percent.

Publication: Metal Bulletin
Provider: Metal Bulletin com
Date: December 10, 2007

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