Western Mining plans to build a 100,000tpa copper smelter in the north-western Chinese province of Qinghai at an estimated cost of 2.28bn yuan ($347m).

The firm will require a partner to build the smelter with Western Mining holding a majority stake, reports Reuters.

Research firm Antaike’s senior copper analyst Yang Changhua said Western Mining would use copper concentrate production in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia for the new smelter but would still need to buy concentrate from other miners.

Zijin Mining board secretary Zheng Yuqiang said the firm expected to complete construction in the second half of the year and begin production soon after.