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China’s Zijin Mining has inaugurated the Buritica gold mine in Colombia, which it acquired in March from Canadian mining firm Continental Gold.

In December last year, Zijin first signed a definitive agreement to acquire Continental Gold for a total equity value of C$1.4bn ($1.05bn) in cash.

Colombia is expected to boost production of gold by 25% as it looks to diversify its mining industry to rely less on coal, Reuters reported.

The news agency quoted Colombia President Iván Duque as stating: “I am pleased that we as a country can realize that mining can be done with all social and environmental protocols. Today begins a new cycle of this project to serve Colombia.”

The Buriticá gold project is located 4km north of the town of Buriticá and approximately 91km northwest of Medellín city in Colombia.

It covers an area of approximately 75,583ha, comprising a total of 80 tenements, including 23 registered concessions and 60 pending registration concessions.

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Zijin Continental CEO James Wang said: “The Buritica mine represents legal and good mining.

“Legal mining is a good neighbour. Legal mining preserves the culture and of the territories and supports the development of the region.

“Today we begin a new chapter in Colombia’s mining sector. We want to be a good example and we are working to be the best mine in Colombia.”

According to the Chinese firm, the mine had a total construction cost of $610m.