China's Zijin Mining invests abroad

HONG KONG, July 29 - Zijin Mining , China's top listed gold producer, plans to invest 1 billion yuan ($146 million) in a gold mining project in Tajikistan and awaits approval for another in the Philippines, as it expands abroad to ride sky-high prices.

Zijin is also seeking new projects to mine silver and zinc in Tajikistan and is in talks to buy a gold mine in Africa. But the company said it is becoming more selective after adding 11 exploration licences and seven mining licences in the past year, amid concerns metal prices may start turning around soon.

The price of gold , which accounted for 64 percent of Zijin's total sales in the first six months of this year, has risen by nearly $100 per troy ounce, or 12 percent from the beginning of the year, to $930.25 a troy ounce on Tuesday.

Zijin reported a 45 percent rise in first-half profits, to 1.74 billion yuan ($255 million).

"We will consider projects only if they can create more value from the current values as prices are already high. We will not buy regardless of prices," Chairman Chen Jinghe told Reuters on the sidelines of an investor conference on Tuesday in Hong Kong.

"For now, it is hard to predict the outcome of the African project as we are quite apart on the price."

But Zijin is keen on projects in Tajikistan, where the government is friendly to Chinese firms. It plans to inject more funds to upgrade the technology and boost output at its existing gold project in the country, which includes two mines.


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