Chinese mining company Zijin Mining has reported a mining accident at one of its mines in Tibet, the circumstances of which have led to the stopping of production.

On 14 May, a lift cage fell during shaft construction in the drainage system at the Julong open-pit copper and polymetallic mine, cutting contact with six workers.

Zijin has suspended mining production at the site and launched search and rescue operations for the missing workers.

The company added that it has carried out an investigation and rectification of the hidden risks. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

The construction of the Julong mine was subcontracted to Fujian Xingwanxiang Construction Group by Zijin subsidiary Tibet Julong Copper.

Zijin owns a 50.1% stake in the Julong mine, which produced 115,000 tonnes (t) of copper last year and is planning to increase its production to 152,000t this year.

Phase one production at Julong Copper began in December 2021. Located in the Tibetan plateau at an altitude between 4,000m and 5,000m, the mine features 10.7 million tonnes of copper and 570,000t of molybdenum.

Last month, the company through Barrick Gold, a joint venture with Barrick Niugini (BNL), entered a New Porgera Progress Agreement (NPPA) with the Papua New Guinea Government.

According to the NPPA, all three parties – Zijin, BNL and the Papua New Guinea Government – have agreed to reopen the Porgera Gold Mine at the earliest opportunity.

Operations at the mine were suspended in April 2020 due to the failure to secure approval for its extension. The NPPA signing is an important milestone in resuming operations.