The Chinese company Zijin Mining intends to buy the mines for copper and gold that its partner Freeport McMoran Inc. owns in Serbia. Zijin Mining will pay up to $390 million for the lower zone of the Timok copper and gold mine. The company already owns the upper zone. Zijin Mining will initially pay Freeport $240 million with subsequent payments of 0.4% of net sales revenue once production begins, up to additional $150million.
Zijin continues to strengthen its presence in the Balkans after taking over copper production at the RTB Bor Mining and Metallurgical Complex in Serbia in 2018. The company have said that with the acquisition of Freeport shares, it would increase its total controlled copper resources by 7.72 million tons (15.6%) to 57.24 million tons, while its gold resources will increase by 161 tons (9.3%), up to 1889 tons.
The development of the lower zone of the Timok mine is due to start after production commences in the upper zone, which is foreseen for 2021.
The copper mines around the towns of Bor and Majdanpek are the biggest polluters of the environment in Eastern Serbia, whose flotation waters run into the Timok River and then into the Danube. Eco-organizations have repeatedly warned about the periodic pollution of the Timok River, which borders Bulgaria and the destruction of the river flora and fauna.