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Chinese miner Zijin posts record annual profit as gold, copper prices surge

Kitco News

March 19 (Reuters) - Zijin Mining Co , one of China's biggest gold and copper producers, on Friday said its profits rose 51.9% year-on-year in 2020, setting an annual record high as prices for the two metals soared.

Xiamen-based Zijin posted net income of 6.51 billion yuan ($1 billion) last year, up from 4.28 billion yuan in 2019 and the company's best annual result in Refinitiv Eikon records, beating the previous high of 5.71 billion yuan in 2011. Revenues rose 47% to 182.3 billion yuan last year, the company said in a filing, as it cashed in on more than 25% rises in the prices of precious metal gold , which hit an all-time peak in August, and industrial metal copper.

The price jump bolstered Zijin's coffers, with cash and cash equivalents almost doubling from a year earlier to 11.79 billion yuan as of Dec. 31, paving the away for the continuation of an acquisition spree that has seen the company buy mines in Colombia and Guyana. Last month, it said it stood to benefit as copper hit nine-year highs above $9,000 a tonne.

Zijin, which along with Barrick Gold Corp is negotiating a deal to operate the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea after an extension of the expired lease was refused in April, said its mined gold production fell 0.8% last year to 40.51 tonnes. Copper production - both mined and smelted - rose 18.1% to 1.03 million tonnes.

The company in January raised its targets for mined gold production to 53-56 tonnes in 2021, 67-72 tonnes in 2022 and 80-90 tonnes in 2025. It also wants to double mined copper output from 500,000-560,000 tonnes this year to 1 million-1.1 million tonnes in 2025 to meet a strategic goal of becoming an "extra-large scale international mining group". Zijin produced 460,000 tonnes of mined copper last year.

($1 = 6.5070 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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