Shandong Gold Group, China’s second biggest gold producer by output, announced on Tuesday that it has discovered deposits in eastern China containing an estimated 380 tons of gold reserves, which would represent the nation’s largest ever gold deposit.
According to a Tuesday statement that cited the company on sdchina.com, the Xiling mine in Shandong province told local authorities it had found 382.58 tons of gold reserves and that the volume could reach more than 550 tons once exploration is completed in two years. According to local media reports, the Xiling gold seam in eastern China is more than 2,000 meters long and 67 meters wide; operating at full capacity, the mine would have a life of 40 years, according to the statement.
The mine is located in the Laizhou-Zhaoyuan region of northwest Jiaodong Peninsula in eastern China’s Shandong; the region has the largest gold deposits in the country. The mine is estimated to have the equivalent of 20% of the country’s 1,843 tons of gold reserves.
China had the fifth largest gold reserves in the world after the United States, Germany, Italy, and France. In July 2015, China ended six years of mystery over how much gold it has, revealing a 57% jump in reserves since 2009 when it last updated the figures. In November that year, China said it discovered another vast deposit of gold beneath the seabed of the East China Sea. At the time, the Chinese media claimed the deposit situated at a depth of 2,000 meters held 470.47 tons of gold.
As Bloomberg adds, Shandong Gold Mining saw its shares rise as much as 2.8% in Shanghai. The listed unit said Monday that net profit doubled to 1.29 billion yuan ($187 million) last year from a year ago as gold prices rebounded.
Chinese gold companies have been stepping up their search for domestic deposits and eyeing acquisitions as the nation seeks to increase reserves by 3,000 tons to as much as 14,000 tons by 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said last month. That amount of holdings would propel China into first place globally for official gold reserves.