China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. is developing plans to expand its copper mine in eastern Serbia due to demand for the metal considered vital to the global energy transition — an effort that could cost billions of dollars.
The company opened the Cukaru Peki copper and gold mine almost two years ago, with a $678 million investment allowing it to reach reserves a few hundred meters deep. Now it wants to drill down almost 2 kilometres to make the most of assets acquired in a takeover spree.
The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Serbian Energy Ministry, represented by the Energy Minister Dubravka Djedović, at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), which also stipulates Zijin Mining’s plans to build a photovoltaic system of 300 MW in Serbia to produce electricity for self-consumption.
It would be the largest photovoltaic project in Serbia’s industrial sector by far. Companies in the country have so far been setting up mostly modest-sized rooftop solar power systems for their own needs.
Zijin Copper said in April that it intends to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The plan for 100 MW in solar power was supposed to be implemented in three phases, starting with a 9.9 MW photovoltaic unit.
The company has a poor reputation in Serbia when it comes to environmental protection. For instance, the town of Bor, the seat of its operations there, has extremely high concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the air, the highest in entire Serbia.
(Biznis.rs, Market Screener, 09.09.2023)
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