Hong Kong-listed Zijin Mining Group, a leading mainland gold miner, is in talks to buy London-listed Avocet Mining's gold operations in Tajikistan, further expanding its overseas resources. Avocet, which operates gold mines in Tajikistan and Indonesia, last night confirmed that the two firms were in late-stage discussions regarding the sale of its 75 per cent stake in Tajik company JV Zeravshan. Mainland newspapers had reported that the deal might be worth as much as US$170 million, but Avocet said the price was 'significantly below' that level, and no binding agreement had been signed. Zijin board secretary Zheng Yuqiang also confirmed the company's intention to buy the Tajik gold mine. However, he did not give details, except to say that its shares would be suspended from trading today pending a related announcement. Zeravshan, Tajikistan's largest gold producer, operates in the Sogd region of northwest Tajikistan and holds gold mining and exploration rights in an area covering three million hectares. It is currently mining two open pits, Khirskhona and Jilau. Since operations started in 1996, it has produced almost 700,000 ounces of gold, according to Avocet's website. For the six months to September last year, Zeravshan produced 17,880 ounces of gold. Zijin, which has footprints in Mongolia, Myanmar, Russia, South Africa and Vietnam, is aggressively expanding its overseas resources. In February, a consortium led by Zijin announced a GBP94.6 million (HK$1.5 billion) takeover of London-listed Monterrico Metals, owner of the Rio Blanco copper and molybdenum mines in Peru. The takeover, which is still subject to regulatory approval, had received 89.9 per cent of acceptances from Monterrico Metals' shareholders as of April 27.