Chinalco, the parent of China’s largest aluminum producer Chalco, has prioritized the development of its copper business, especially in the upstream segment of the sector, including mine exploration and development of potential deposits.

China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the regulator of major state-controlled enterprises, said that as part of Chinalco’s development plan for the next three years it will step up efforts to develop much-needed national defense products in the downstream segment of the copper industry.

Chinalco has stakes in several copper companies, including Yunnan Copper Industry (Group) Co., Shanghai Copper Co., Central China Copper Co. and Peru Copper. It will seek to expand its copper business through cooperation with domestic copper enterprises. To this end it will site a 200,000-mt/y secondary copper project in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province. The project is expected to be put into operation at the end of 2010.

The company is also negotiating with Mongolia over a possible labor contract for the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project. If a labor contract is signed about 2,600 Chinese workers are expected to work at the project.

In March, Chinalco’s President Xiong Weiping expressed the company’s willingness to co-develop the Oyu Tolgoi mine, which is the largest undeveloped copper- gold mine in the world and is just 200 km from the border of the two countries.

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