After a fifth attempt, the Mining and Smelting Basin Bor (RTB Bor) finally got a strategic partner. Chinese company ZiJin Mining Group offered to invest a total of 1.46 billion dollars in RTB, and in return, it will get a 63% in this mining and smelting complex.
The Serbian Minister of Energy and Mining, Aleksandar Antic, pointed out that the Chinese company committed itself not to lay off any of RTB Bor’s 5,000 workers. He expects the contract with the Chinese will be signed in the second half of September, and the Chinese partner could take over RTB Bor on January 1st.
“In their business plan, Zijin foresees an investment of $1.26 billion, plus $200 million for settling the liabilities outlined in the Reorganization Plan (UPPR). And they will receive a 63 percent stake in RTB Bor. Another company, which also submitted a valid bid, was Russia’s Ugold. The offered the in the amount of $863 million, settling RTB’s liabilities over the course of the next eight years, and asking for a 65 percent stake in the company. It was clear which company we would go for”, Antic added.
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“This is a big and important day for Serbia. RTB Bor now has a strong strategic partner, which will improve the company’s operations. RTB is a very important company that affects the lives of all citizens of our country, especially those in Southeastern Serbia. We have seriously approached this issue, the whole tender process was transparent and good, and the result is that we selected the best offer. Zijin is one of the largest Chinese gold producers, and the second in terms of copper production. According to their plan, $320 million will be invested in the opening of the Cerovo mine. They also have big ambitious ambitions with the Smeltery, which has a production capacity of 80,000 tons, and currently produces about 43,000 tons. The Chinese strategic partner’s plans also stipulate that, in the next three years, the Smeltery will reach its full capacity of 80,000 tons, and after six years of business, to produce up to 150,000 tons”, Antic added.
Zijin is one of China’s biggest gold producers and the second biggest producer of copper ore. It employs 17,500 workers in nine countries, and last year it was ranked the 22nd most valuable mining company in the world. Its annual operating income amounts to EUR 10 billion, whereas the net profit exceeds EUR 230 million.
Eligible companies were those who had exploited copper and other non-ferrous and noble metals in the preceding ten years and which had at least $500,000 of revenue in the past year. The minimum amount of capital increase was set at USD 350 million.
Two out of three bids had met the terms of the tender, those by Zijin and Russia’s UGold, whereas the Canadian company Diamond Fields had failed to meet the necessary requirements.
Mining currently contributes 0.9 to 1% of Serbia’s GDP, and the aim is to raise the share to 5%. RTB Bor alone contributes 0.8% to the country’s GDP.
For more than 100 years, RTB Bor has been excavating and melting copper ore, and the facility produces cathode copper and high-quality noble metals. The production started in 1903 in Bor and Majdanpek, and resources in these two locations are practically inexhaustible. Not even a half has been used so far.
Confirmed geological ore reserves amount to around 1.38 billion tonnes, containing around 5.1 million tonnes of copper, 202 tonnes of gold and 1,477 tonnes of silver. With an average annual exploitation of 26 million tonnes of ore, these resources guarantee the production of copper over the next 50 years.
(Vecernje Novosti, 31.08.2018)
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