16 Oct 2009 15:21

Zijin Mining to partner with Philippine firm in $1 bln exploration project

Shanghai. October 16. INTERFAX-CHINA - Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd., a major Chinese gold miner, together with a Philippine-based exploration company, NiHAO Mineral Resources International (NiHAO), plan to invest $1 billion in gold and copper exploration in the Philippines over the next five years, according an announcement on a Philippine government Web site on Oct. 15.

Chen Jinghe, chairman of Zijin Mining, and Jerry Angping, president of NiHAO, signed a memorandum of understanding with Joselito Atienza, the Philippine environment secretary, on Oct. 15 for a partnership to explore mineral resources in the country.

An employee, surnamed Zhang, with Zijin Mining's securities department, told Interfax that the project is currently at a very early stage, and there is not yet a detailed cooperation plan between the parties.

Zijin Mining, based in China's southeastern Fujian Province, produced 57.32 tons of gold in 2008. The company currently has overseas operations in South Africa, Russia, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Zijin Mining recently announced on Sept. 30, 2009, an acquisition in which its wholly-owned subsidiary Golden Island agreed to purchase a 12.8 percent stake in Canadian Continental Minerals Corp. for CAD 22.60 million ($21.83 million), to become the largest shareholder in the company.

NiHAO is engaged in exploration, development and operation of mineral deposits as well as production and trading of metals and minerals including gold, silver, copper and lead.

Previously, NiHAO inked cooperation agreements with Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group Co. Ltd. and GEOGRACE Resources Philippines in August 2008 for nickel exploration and development in the Philippines.