Zijin Mining, whose copper-mining waste spills in Fujian province have killed thousands of tonnes of fish, has been ordered to curb production at its mainstay Zijinshan gold mine, a move that will dent profits. Trading of the Shanghai and Hong Kong-listed firm, the mainland's largest gold producer, was suspended for a second day pending last night's announcement, which said the Shanghang Country People's Government had instructed the company 'to maintain low production levels under safe environmental conditions'. The company estimated the order would result in gold production being reduced by 'approximately one tonne'. Zijin's shares will resume trading on both bourses today. The Zijinshan mine's 18 tonnes of gold output last year accounted for 58.7 per cent of the firm's output of 30.65 tonnes, and its 12,841 tonnes of copper output made up 15 per cent of Zijin's total output 84,826 tonnes. For this year, Zijin had planned to produce 31.1 tonnes of gold from its own mines, and 100,000 tonnes of copper. It has also sought approval to build a smelter capable of processing 200,000 tonnes of copper a year. Company secretary Zheng Yuqiang said on July 14 that the Zijinshan copper mine's closure would last for at least six months, after a July 3 leak of waste water that contained acids and copper ion. CLSA analyst Richard Leung said if the copper mine was shut until the end of the year and the Zijinshan gold mine closed for one month, the Xiamen-based firm's net profit would be 4.4 billion yuan (HK$5.04 billion), 15 per cent less than the 5.18 billion yuan estimated before the incident. For next year, if the copper mine was shut for 12 months and production at the gold mine was stopped for 10 weeks, Leung estimated Zijin's net profit would be 3.8 billion yuan, 21 per cent lower than the 4.8 billion yuan forecast before the spill. Zijin's net profit for this year is forecast at 5.19 billion yuan and 5.75 billion yuan next year, according to the average estimate of 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Leung said CLSA's lower forecast for next year was due to more conservative price projections on a range of metals. In his forecast, he factored in 400 million yuan of annual compensation costs for three years, as well as a 540 million yuan penalty. The 400 million yuan was to support fishermen's prolonged loss of livelihood caused by the spill, while the 540 million yuan penalty was three times the estimated clean-up costs. The water pollution law had stipulated a penalty of one to three times the clean-up costs, Leung said. The Environment Ministry has issued a compensation guideline of 12 yuan per kilogram of contaminated fish. At least 2,000 tonnes of fish have reportedly been poisoned or killed so far. Zijin did not make public the biggest spill on July 3 until nine days later, when it blamed it on floods. It is being investigated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission on account of its information disclosure practices.