The Baijian iron ore project is the only remaining, high-grade iron ore body to be developed in the Hebei province of China.

Jizhong Energy Company, a subsidiary of Jizhong Group, is developing the open-pit project with an estimated investment of approximately £208m ($286m).

The ground-breaking ceremony marking the official start of the comprehensive exploration and construction works of the project was held in December 2020.

The Baijian iron ore mine is expected to annually produce two million tonnes (Mt) of raw iron ore over an estimated mine life of 33 years.

Project location and geology

The Baijian iron ore project is located near the Baijian village, in the Shahe city of Hebei province, China.

The project site lies approximately 1km away from Jizhong’s Zhangcun Mine Industrial Square.

The main iron ore body is situated in the lower part of the existing Zhangcum coal mine, and lies adjacent to the Xiandewang coal mine. The Baijian iron ore project also holds prospecting rights covering 2.58km2.

Mineralisation and reserves

The Baijian iron ore mine is based on a high-grade magnetite deposit featuring simple ore structure, and coarse grain size, easy beneficiation ore.

The project is estimated to hold approximately 100Mt of ore reserves grading 43.48%  magnetic iron, along with symbiotic pyrite, gypsum ore, cobalt metal and other resources.

Exploration activities

The exploration drilling for the Baijian iron ore mine development is being carried out with the simultaneous deployment of a total of 22 drilling rigs.

The footage work of approximately 5,455m was completed as part of the preliminary test operation stage of the project as of January 2021.

The boreholes ZK2301 and ZK2704 drilled to a depth of 96m and 10m respectively in the trial operation stage exposed the magnetite body of the Baijian iron ore deposit.

Mining method and infrastructure facilities

The open-pit mining method will be employed for extracting the iron ore from the mine. The project will utilise the existing industrial sites, surface facilities, as well as the idle equipment of the nearby Zhangcun and Xiandewang mines.

Contractors involved

Ninth Geological Prospecting Brigade of the Hebei Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has been engaged for the construction works of the Baijian iron ore mining project.

Geology and Mineral Resources of Hebei Provincial Bureau was also engaged for the general survey and geology study of the project.

Baijian iron ore project background

The mineral resources exploration license for the Baijian iron ore project was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources in March 2020, while the exploration design for the project was approved in June 2020.

Jizhong started the investigation and geological study for the Baijian iron mine in 2017. The closure of three wells of the Zhangcun mine and the shutdown of the Xiandewang mine paved to the start of the exploration activities for the Baijian iron ore project.

Jizhong Company and the Hebei Provincial Department of Natural resources signed the first contract for the transfer of the exploration and prospecting rights of the Baijian iron ore project in February 2019. The final transfer contract of the project was signed in September 2019.

The Baijian iron ore mine project is currently the only undeveloped high-quality iron ore resource in the Hebei province of China.

Recognised as a key construction project in the 13th Five-Year Plan of the Hebei province, it is estimated to generate approximately £170m ($229.59m) of operating income along with more than £113.42m ($153m) of profit and tax benefits a year.