(Corrects spelling of ‘abroad’ in headline)
HONG KONG, March 23 (Reuters) - China’s Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd is in talks to buy gold and copper mining assets abroad and expects to finalise some acquisitions this year, its chairman said on Monday.
Chen Jinghe said that current market conditions were favourable for acquisitions but did not identify targets.
“Some (talks) have almost reached maturity...this year there will be some important results,” Chen told a news conference in Hong Kong after the company’s 2014 earnings.
Zijin was also likely to conclude development of its stalled copper mine project in Peru this year after facing opposition from the local community, Chen said.
The Rio Blanco copper project in northern Peru was struck by bouts of violence before and after it was bought in 2007 by Zijin.
The problems it has faced in the Peru project would not affect the company’s appetite for new investment, Chen told Reuters after the news conference.
Zijin, China’s leading gold producer and a medium-sized refined copper producer, expects global gold prices and copper prices to fluctuate around current levels this year as a strong U.S. dollar weighs on prices, Chen said.
Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have fallen more than 3 percent so far this year to trade at $6,066 per tonne on Monday, after having dropped 14 percent in 2014.
Spot gold has dropped more than 1 percent so far this year and was trading at $1,182 per ounce on Monday.
Zijin said on Friday its net profit rose 10.3 percent to 2.3 billion yuan in 2014.
The company mined 33.727 tonnes of gold in ores, 138,462 tonnes of copper in ores and 96,261 tonnes of zinc in ores in 2014.
Zijin’s metal production reached 125.197 tonnes of gold, 235,150 tonnes of refined copper cathode, 204,223 tonnes of zinc ingots and 146 tonnes of silver in 2014.
In 2015, metal production is targeted at 117 tonnes of gold, 250,000 tonnes of refined copper cathode, 200,000 tonnes of zinc ingots and 169 tonnes of silver. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Ed Davies)