Zijin investment to make Serbia Europe's 3rd largest copper producer

Serbia expects to become Europe's third-largest copper producer on the back of investments which China's Zijin Mining Group is making in copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor, energy minister Aleksandar Antic has said.

"The production of copper and gold in Serbia will generate 5% of our gross domestic product. Today, the entire mining industry generates about 1%, so this will be truly a drastic jump that will affect our overall economy," Antic said in a video file posted on the website of Serbian public broadcaster RTS.

The Serbian government signed the final agreement for strategic partnership in RTB Bor with Zijin last month, after the Chinese group injected $350 million (306.7 million euro) in the capital of the copper producer. In September, Serbia picked Zijin as a strategic partner in RTB Bor. The Chinese company has pledged to invest $1.26 billion in RTB Bor.

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In November, Antic said that Serbia targets an annual output of 250,000 tonnes of copper. The country has attracted investments of more than 1 billion euro to its mining sector since December 2014 and currently has 130 exploration fields, while production activities are carried out on about 250 fields.