A mining unit the Vedanta Group Sesa Sterlite has approved the plan to invest $782m in development of the Gamsberg-Skorpion Integrated Zinc project in South Africa and Namibia.
The monies will be used to build an open pit zinc mine in Gamsberg, South Africa, and convert the Skorpion Zinc Refinery in Namibia.
Sesa Sterlite will spend $630m on setting-up the open pit zinc mine, concentrator plant and associated infrastructure at Gamsberg.
The remaining amount will be used for modifications to the refinery at Skorpion mine in Rosh Pinah, Namibia. After the upgrade, the facility will be used to refine zinc concentrates from the Gamsberg mine in order to derive special high-grade zinc metal.
Sesa Sterlite CEO Mr Tom Albanese said: "The Gamsberg-Skorpion Integrated Zinc project is central to Vedanta’s long-term aspirations for Southern Africa.
"It will also allow Vedanta to make a significant contribution to enabling the South African Government achieve its goal of using the country’s vast mineral wealth to help fight poverty and uplift communities through the creation of sustainable, long-term employment opportunities.
"This project provides significant synergies to both our operations and compliments the needs of the region."
Black Mountain Mining (BMM) will be in charge of operations for the Gamsberg project.
Ore production from the Gamsberg mine is expected to commence between 2017 and 2018, and the open pit mine will have a life of 13 years. Sesa Sterlite owns 74% of BMM with the remaining 26% being held by Exxaro Resources.
Albanese said: "The output from Gamsberg, coupled with extending the life of the world-class refinery at the Skorpion mine in Namibia, will make the Southern African region one of the most important suppliers of refined zinc globally.
"That will also result in these operations forming one of the cornerstones of our operations in Africa and will partially offset the loss of volume resulting from the end of life of mine at Lisheen in Ireland."
Image: Skorpion Zinc refinery. Photo: courtesy of Vedanta Zinc International Group.