China’s Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Co has said it will begin processing gold ore from its mine in Sepon, Laos, after a six-year hiatus.
According to a report by Reuters, the restart of gold production at the mine is due to gold prices hitting a seven-year high last month, making the process profitable once again.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased trade in the precious metal.
Chifeng Jilong made a statement on Saturday that the launch of gold production at the Sepon mine was three months ahead of schedule, in spite of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“It is estimated that finished gold can be produced in early June,” said the company in a statement on its website.
The previous owner of the copper and gold mine, MMG Ltd, stopped gold production in 2013, citing depletion of ore and lower profitability of the metal compared to copper.
Chifeng Jilong purchased a 90% interest in the operator of the mine, Lane Xang Minerals, from MMG in 2018 at US 275 million.
According to the report by Reuters, Chifeng Jilong plans to produce 1-1.6 tonnes of Gold at the Sepon mine this year, and up to 7 tonnes in 2021.
The mine is to also produce 45,000 tonnes of copper this year, less than the 72,000 tonnes produced in 2019.
The mining sector in Laos has seen a decrease of 18 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to figures provided by officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines, after legislators ordered the suspension of new mining operations in 2016.