Yunnan Copper Industry (Group), China's third-biggest producer by capacity, added 100,000 tonnes of annual refining capacity this week in Guangdong province.

This boosted the total across China to 700,000 tonnes, according to a report on the company website. (

The facility in Qingyuan city would use blister from the Chambishi smelter in Zambia, a joint venture between Yunnan Copper and China Nonferrous Metals Group.

Refined copper production in China, the world's top consumer of the metal, reached a record 4.8 million tonnes last year and is likely to achieve another record year in 2011 as capacity expands.

The capacity at the new plant may be expanded to 500,000 tonnes a year in three to five years, Sun Maosong, party secretary of the plant, Guangdong Qingyuan Yunnan Copper Nonferrous Metals Company, said in May late year.

Yunnan Copper's listed arm operates the group's 600,000 tonnes of annual refining capacity and around 400,000 tonnes of smelting capacity in Yunnan and Inner Mongolia regions, said an official at the securities department of the listed firm.

The listed firm produced near 290,000 tonnes of refined copper in 2009 and output rose to over 300,000 tonnes last year, the official said.

Yunnan Copper is controlled by Chinalco, which is the parent of China's top aluminium producer Aluminum Corp of China Ltd and is expanding to other resources such as rare earth, iron ore and coal.