May 17, 2020

Chinese mining companies line up for $2bn Vasilkovskoye gold mine

China mining
gold mining
china gold mining
Dale Benton
3 min
Chinese mining companies line up for $2bn Vasilkovskoye gold mine
A Chinese gold mining company is currently the leading bidder for Glencore Plcs Vasilkovskoye gold mine, after the Australian mining company announced i...

A Chinese gold mining company is currently the leading bidder for Glencore Plc’s Vasilkovskoye gold mine, after the Australian mining company announced it was exploring sale options in August this year.

Shandong Gold, one the largest gold producers in China, is reported to be the highest bidder in the sale of the mine which could bring around $2 billion in revenue for Glencore.

Other reported bidders include Zhongjin Gold Corp and Zijin Mining Group – one of China’s largest gold producers.

Glencore is looking bring its net debt below $18bn with a target of $15bn by the end of 2017.

While Shandong Gold is believed to be the top bidder, Glencore has made no decisions as of yet and is still examining the options, which may even see the company retain the asset.

Here’s what we know about the potential buyers:

Shandong Gold:

  • Established in 1996, Shandong Gold Group was converted into a state-owned capital investment company directly under the Shandong Provincial Government in 2015
  • The trophy shelf at Shandong is quite crowded, with wins in the “National May Day Labor Award”, the “China Charity Award” as well as ranking second in “China’s top 100 listed companies (Golden Bull Award)”
  • Shandong Gold’s the strategic objective is to see the company “taking the lead in China's gold production enterprises and ranked top ten in terms of the overall strength in gold mining industry”.


Zhongjin Gold Corp:

  • Zhongjin Gold Corp was established in 2000 by the China National Gold Group Corporation
  • In 2003 Zhongjin became the first company with a public offering of RMB 100 million ordinary shares, and was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange becoming known as “China's first gold."
  • The company focuses on gold, non-ferrous geological exploration, mining, smelting investment and management
  • It prides itself on the production of high purity gold
  • In its 16-year life, the company has racked up 48 awards, with the most recent being listed amongst China’s “top ten listed companies” and the China hundred enterprises award


Zijin Mining:

  • Zijin Mining started life at the Zijinshan Gold Mine in 1993
  • Zijin went public in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2003 and then got listed in Shanghai Stock Exchange in April 2008.
  • Its core asset Zijinshan Gold & Copper Mine was rated as China’s largest gold mine by China Gold Association in March 2008
  • Zijin has invested in over 20 provinces across China and 9 countries, with operations in gold, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, iron ore and other base metals.
  • It is one of China’s largest mined gold producers, second largest mined copper and zinc producer, as well as a major producer of tungsten and iron ore
  • During 2000 - 2014, the company has donated RMB 2.14 billion for public charity


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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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