The Chinese company Zijin has been selected as the strategic partner of RTB Bor, Tanjug learns.
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 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 USD 500,000 of income in the past year. The minimum amount of capital increase was set at USD 350 million. This tender, however, is not only about money, but also about the ownership stake that the strategic partner will acquire for that money, that is, whether the state will remain the majority owner, whereby the new partner obliges to bring a new management, invest in the modernization of the production, keep the employees and increase their number.
The agreement is expected to be signed in September, and the strategic partner might take over the operating management of RTB Bor in the early 2019.
Two out of three bids had met the terms of the tender, those by Zijin and Russia’s U Gold, whereas the Canadian company Diamond Fields had failed to meet the necessary requirements.
The mining company U Gold was founded in 1976 and was bought by Russian billionaire Konstantin Strukov during the privatization process. U Gold has seven gold mines in Russia and is one of the three biggest Russian companies in its field.
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 tons, containing around 5.1 million tons of copper, 202 tons of gold and 1,477 tons of silver. With an average annual exploitation of 26 million tons of ore, these resources guarantee the production of copper over the next 50 years.