The first phase of the Qulong copper mine in Tibet, which is intended to form part of the world’s largest copper mine, began production on Monday, reports Caixin. The Qulong mine is operated by Tibet Julong Copper, which is controlled by Zijin Mining Group. With the combined output of Qulong and another mine Zhihula, Julong is expected to produce 120,000 to 130,000 tons of copper in 2022.
The first phase of the mine was designed with an annual production capacity of nearly 160,000 tons. Construction of mine’s second and third phases remains subject to regulatory approval. Together, the phases are expected to produce about 200 million tons of ores annually, making the project the largest copper mine in the world.
Zijin, which is best known as a gold miner, acquired a 50.1% stake in Julong for RMB 3.88 billion ($547.7 million) in 2020 to gain access to three copper deposits—Zhibula, Qulong, and Rongmu Cuola—which have total reserves of 7.95 million tons. As of now, Zijin holds a 57.35% stake in Julong while another mining firm, Zangge Mining, holds 30.78%.