The Huoshaoyun zinc and lead deposit in Xinjiang province is reported to be the largest of its kind discovered in China in recent years. Recent media reports have suggested the project will begin production by the end of 2017. However, this is highly unlikely as construction has not started. Wood Mackenzie categorises Huoshaoyun as being of base case project status. The deposit is in a remote region and 5,500m above sea level so it will be a huge challenge to build and operate a mine and smelter. In this insight we have outlined some of the potential difficulties of constructing and operating a mine at such high altitude, and analysis of the processing options available.