Vedanta begins work on Gamsberg zinc project in South Africa

27 July 2015 (Last Updated July 27th, 2015 18:30)

Vedanta Zinc International has started work on its Gamsberg project in South Africa, targeting to start production of the first ore in early 2018.

Vedanta Zinc International has started work on its Gamsberg project in South Africa, targeting to start production of the first ore in early 2018.

The mine is located near Aggeneys town in the Northern Cape province of South Africa and first phase of the project is expected to have a mine life of 13 years.

Gamsberg operations will include an open-pit zinc mine with an estimated ore reserve of 186 million tonnes and more than 250 million tonnes of potential reserves, hydrometallurgical processing (concentrator) and associated infrastructure.

Development work at the project include pre-stripping and surface work to access the ore body.

"We believe that this region has the highest concentration of zinc on the African continent and that we can develop integrated zinc and lead complex here."

Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese said: "We are very excited to have reached this stage of the project.

"We believe that this region has the highest concentration of zinc on the African continent and that we can develop integrated zinc and lead complex here, anchored around Gamsberg and the Skorpion Refinery, which will boost economic growth and create sustainable employment.

"Vedanta believes strongly in the philosophy of sustainable development and we commit to protecting the unique ecosystem around Gamsberg for future generations."

Vedanta previously announced that it has received approval to invest $782m to develop an open-pit zinc mine in Gamsberg, South Africa and to convert the Skorpion Zinc Refinery in Namibia.

From the total investment, the company plans to invest $630m at its Gamsberg operations, including on the open pit zinc mine, concentrator plant and associated infrastructure.

The remaining amount will be invested to convert the refinery in Namibia, which will help it in refining zinc sulphide concentrates from the Gamsberg Mine into special, high grade zinc metal.

Production from Gamsberg operations will help in replacing output from Lisheen mine in Ireland as it is closing operation in November this year.

Vedanta Zinc International CEO Deshnee Naidoo said: "We're developing Gamsberg in a phased manner using cash generated by the VZI operations, while remaining focussed on sustainable cost reduction at both Gamsberg and Skorpion.

"The Gamsberg project will help us to create future opportunities and to ensure that our operations create value for the communities in the region.

"It is expected to generate approximately 500 permanent jobs, with the potential to create a further 1,500 temporary jobs during the construction phase."