The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MME) isn’t permitting copper ores to be blended in the country, despite a raw material shortage.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which catalysed mining restrictions across the globe, created the raw material scarcity, and demand in China—the world’s biggest copper consumer—is exceptionally high because of the country’s construction and infrastructure projects.
Various smelters, such as Jinchuan Group, Jiangxi Copper, and China Daye, are currently blending high-grade copper ore with “dirty” ore, which is contaminated with impurities like arsenic, to secure the required feedstock for their plants. However, the maximum arsenic impurity level in Chinese copper is capped at 0.5pc and the blending method violates the MME’s regulations.
The smelters are obliged to undertake environmental impact assessments (EIA) in order to blend the ores, said Liu Zhiquan, the MME’s head of EIA, but he added that no approvals of such EIAs have yet been granted.