One of China’s largest mining groups extended its global reach by striking separate deals with two western miners to buy assets and pursue long-term ventures.

Zijin Mining is investing $298m for a joint venture with Barrick Gold where each company will own 47.5 per cent of Porgera, a gold mine in Papua New Guinea, writes James Wilson.

The wider significance is the companies’ intention to form a long-term strategic partnership to collaborate on further ventures. Barrick has been expected to try to find a Chinese partner since John Thornton, well-connected in Beijing, took over as chairman last year. Mr Thornton said:

A twenty-first century mining company with global reach and the intention to become an industry leader must, by definition, have a distinctive relationship with China. This is particularly true in our industry, where China has become both the largest producer and consumer of gold, and a major source of capital and expertise for the mines of the future.

Zijin is also deepening its partnership with Ivanhoe Mines, the vehicle of wealthy mining entrepreneur Robert Friedland.

Having taken a stake of 9.9 per cent in Ivanhoe this year, Zijin is now forming a joint venture with Ivanhoe to acquire 49.5 per cent of its Kamoa copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo for $412m.

FT

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