Vedanta Zinc International recovers body after Gamsberg Mine accident

23 November 2020 (Last Updated November 23rd, 2020 16:28)

Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) has recovered the body of a mine worker trapped after a geotechnical failure at its Gamsberg Open Pit Mine in South Africa trapped 10 employees.

Vedanta Zinc International recovers body after Gamsberg Mine accident
Vedanta Zinc opened the $400m first phase of the Gamsberg mine in March 2019. Credit: Alchemist-hp.

Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) has recovered the body of a mine worker trapped after a geotechnical failure at its Gamsberg Open Pit Mine in South Africa trapped 10 employees.

VZI suspended all mining activities at the mine from 17 November after the incident

As of 18 November, eight of the workers had been rescued after the accident, which occurred at 1.15am local time on 17 November.

The deceased has been identified as 45-year-old Melvin Rodney Saal, a load and haul foreman for service provider Moolmans. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Currently, the company is in the process of finding the remaining worker, who is still unaccounted for.

Located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, VZI own 69.6% of the Gamsberg mine with 24.4% owned by Exxaro Resources. The remaining 6% is owned by the Employee Share Ownership Plan.

The mine is located about 30km from Black Mountain Mining in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

In a press statement, VZI stated: “All of us at VZI and Moolmans are extremely saddened and have sent our heartfelt sympathy to Melvin’s family. We commit to assisting the family, now and in the weeks and months to come. Our deepest condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues.

“The wellbeing of our employees is very important to us, and counselling is available for the family and all colleagues.

In March last year, Vedanta Zinc opened the $400m first phase of the Gamsberg mine.

Phase 1 of Gamsberg, which has a life of mine (LoM) of 13 years, will produce four million tonnes per annum (tpa) of ore from the open pit and 250,000tpa of concentrate from its concentrator plant.

Vedanta approved the project in 2014, following which the first blast occurred in mid-2015.

With a reserve and resource of more than 214Mt with a grade of between 6% and 6.5% zinc, the mine has an estimated LoM of more than 30 years.

In November 2017, VZI collaborated with GE South Africa to unveil a greenfields digitalisation initiative at the Gamsberg project.