Top Chinese gold miner sets aside $1bn for African buys

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's powerful economic planning agency, in May put into effect a new regime to govern overseas investment, making it much easier for domestic companies to make acquisitions and set up joint ventures abroad.

The so-called Order 9 scraps the approval process for deals worth less than $1 billion entirely, replacing it with a simple registration process, eases forex requirements and cuts out much of the bureaucracy.

While no-one expects the floodgates to open for outbound Chinese M&A, there are definitely many companies, particularly in gold and copper, keen on diversifying globally.

In June the president of state-owned China National Gold, the country's and the world's largest gold company, during a visit to North American mining hub Vancouver said the Beijing-based firm is actively on the hunt for global acquisitions and partnerships in gold, silver and copper.

On Wednesday Zijin Mining Group, China’s foremost listed gold miner, joined the fray saying it has built up a warchest of up to $1.3 billion for acquisitions this year, particularly in Africa.

Zijin management in a press conference said Zijin will seek overseas financing for purchases and is interested in gold projects with more than 100 tonnes of the precious metal, while copper projects with more than 1 million tonnes of reserves will be considered:

"We are seeing some buying opportunities in Africa and are examining related infrastructure development and geopolitical risks there," Chief Executive Officer Wang Jianhua said in an interview. “What we are interested in buying are those on the world gold mining belt with big sizes."