Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) said that its Aynak copper mining project in Afghanistan, in which Jiangzi Copper has a minority stake, will start production by the end of 2011.
The firms began construction of the $4.4m project in July and have increased the project’s designed capacity to 320,000t of copper in concentrate a year, from the planned 200,000t, Reuters reports.
Aynak is 75%-owned by MCC and 25% by Jiangxi Copper and will be developed in two phases with production reaching 180,000t of copper concentrate by the end of its initial development.
MCC’s president Shen Heting said that there are proven reserves across a quarter of the whole area and the copper concentrate would be provided to its subsidiary Huludao Zinc, a major Chinese zinc smelter.
“Huludao’s copper production would be 300,000-400,000t a year in four to five years,” Shen said.
The Aynak project is considered a key ore body with nine million tonnes of proven copper reserves with an average metal content of 1.84%, Reuters reports.