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China’s mining contracting major JCHX builds on mine operator ambitions, buying Lonshi copper mining project in DRC from ERG

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On April 26, a ceremony was held for the completion of JCHX’s acquisition of ERG’s copper asset in DRC which the Chinese mining engineering and contracting major says marks a major milestone in its strategy to become more directly involved in resource development.

ERG is a diversified Luxembourg-based natural resources group focusing on mining, processing, energy, logistics and marketing, with businesses across Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Brazil, DRC, Zambia, Mozambique, and the Republic of South Africa. ERG has maintained successful long-term cooperation with various Chinese enterprises. On January 15, 2021, a cooperation agreement was signed between JCHX and ERG based on mutual understanding and agreement over a copper mine in DRC.

After the transaction, JCHX said it possesses one exploitation permit PE13093 and 7 exploration permits, covering it estimates nearly 1 Mt of premium copper reserves. In particular, Lonshi copper mine under PE13093 is a strata-bound deposit in Central Africa Copper Belt with 870,000 t of copper reserves at a grade of 2.82%. The deposit is under stratigraphic and lithologic control, featuring thickness, high grade and stable extension, and with a great potential of increased reserves, says JCHX.

In addition, seven exploration permits collectively cover an area over 900 km2, spread over the southeastern DRC and sit in the east of Central Africa Copper Belt. Currently only geophysical, geochemical exploration and limited drilling has been done so JCHX believes there is a lot of potential of increased reserves with detailed geological surveying.

Open pit mining was carried out at Lonshi copper mine up to 2001, but resources at depth have yet to been mined. Certain infrastructure and facilities have been established on site with national grid connected, and a decline partly developed, which will contribute to a rapid, low-risk, and stable development of production. Besides, the mine is adjacent to the border of Zambia, and close to Kasumbalesa port and JCHX’s projects in Zambia which will facilitate the coordinated management and operation of various projects within the region. As an example, JCHX is the major contractor at the underground NFCA Chambishi copper mines in Zambia while in DRC is the main underground mining and development contractor at the huge Ivanhoe/Zijin Kamoa-Kakula project.

A feasibility study was completed for the project where conclusions were made that production can start within 2-2.5 years and 1.5 Mt/y of ore production capacity can be achieved after ramp up. Lonshi mine will be a flagship project for JCHX’s resource development blueprint, and a strong backup for its business transformation and implementation of its corporate strategic plans. “Resource development is an emerging business for JCHX and a key factor for its long-term performance and profit. The acquisition of Lonshi project is highly in line with JCHX’s corporate strategy, and will enable JCHX to further expand its business in resources development, improve industrial layout, and promote a sustainable, stable and sound development.”

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