South Africa Prez Ramaphosa opens Vedanta's Gamsberg mine
CApe Town: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened Vedanta Zinc International's (VZI) Gamsberg mine outside Aggeneys in South Africa's Northern Cape province.
Ramaphosa was joined by Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe, Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas and hosted by Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal, Vedanta CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, and VZI CEO Deshnee Naidoo.
The Gamsberg zinc resource, though discovered more than 40 years ago, had been held undeveloped in the portfolios of various South African mining companies until Vedanta acquired it in 2011 as part of the Black Mountain Mining complex. Vedanta gave the project the go-ahead in 2014 and the first blast occurred just eight months later in mid-2015.
Gamsberg has a reserve and resource of more than 214 mt with a grade of between 6 and 6.5 per cent zinc and an estimated life of mine (LoM) of 30+ years.
Phase 1 of Gamsberg, celebrated on 28th February, represents a $400 million investment by Vedanta in South Africa. This phase has a LoM of 13 years and will see 4 mtpa of ore produced from the open pit and 250,000 tpa of concentrate from its concentrator plant.
Evaluation for phases 2 and 3, a further investment of $350 -400 million is underway. This will see ore mined increase to 8 mtpa and an increase in zinc-in-concentrate production, in a modular way to 450,000 tpa, and ultimately to 600,000 tpa.
Vedanta is simultaneously pursuing a feasibility study into the development and construction of a smelter-refinery complex, to the cause of Vedanta and the Government's commitment to local metal beneficiation.
Vedanta's CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan reflected on his time in the South African mining industry and the pride he felt as President Ramaphosa opened Gamsberg.
Speaking on behalf of Vedanta, Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal emphasised his commitment to South Africa and his belief in the future of the South African mining industry.
Agarwal also noted his and Vedanta's support for President Ramaphosa's immediate vision for the industry. He reiterated the commitment made by Vedanta to South Africa's investment drive.
Delivering the keynote address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "The Vedanta Gamsberg project is an important step in our shared journey to revive our mining industry. It confirms our view that with an effective regulatory framework, improved collaboration between all stakeholders and sustained investment, mining has the potential to be a sunrise industry.
"We welcome this substantial investment by Vedanta, which not only deepens South Africa's relationship with India but also signals Vedanta's confidence in the future of South Africa's mining industry."
Gamsberg is located in the ecologically sensitive Succulent Karoo Biome — one of the world's 35 "biodiversity hotspots".
VZI's biodiversity action plan includes the preservation of plants and seeds for post-mining replanting and a biodiversity offset programme involving the purchase of 12,500 ha of land.
Gamsberg is one of the most digitally advanced greenfield mining projects in South Africa. Digitalisation at Gamsberg includes Smart Ore Movement, Spatial Risk Monitoring and Management and Collision Avoidance Systems.
Vedanta is committed to local economic development in Khai-Ma and the Northern Cape. Spending towards local enterprises increased from R25 million in the 2016-17 financial year to R77.5 million for the 2017-18 year.
From a CSR perspective, Vedanta has invested more than R44.6 million for the 2017-18 financial year on training and social projects aimed
at skills development, education, health, enterprise development and municipal infrastructure support.