Vedanta plans multimillion dollar zinc project
November 18, 2014
Konkola Copper Mines’ parent company, Vedanta Resources Plc, has approved a $782 million investment to develop an open pit zinc mine in South Africa as well as the conversion of the Skorpion Zinc Refinery in Namibia.
These new investments, combined with $3 billion invested over the last decade in the Zambian Copperbelt, and the ongoing development of Vedanta’s Western Cluster project in Liberia, reflect a commitment made by Tom Albanese, CEO of Vedanta Resources earlier in the year during the Africa Mining on Top conference in London.
‘’Vedanta Resources has been in Africa now for more than a decade, and I am bullish about the potential, both of our existing companies and their opportunities and also for the future of mining across Africa,’’ Mr Albanese had told the London conference.
Approximately $630 million of the $782 million approved will go towards developing the open-pit zinc mine, concentrator plant and associated infrastructure at South Africa’s Gamsberg, one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc deposits. The balance of the investment will be used to convert the refinery at Skorpion Zinc in Rosh Pinah, Namibia.
In a market announcement Vedanta said that the conversion of the refinery would enable it to refine zinc sulphide concentrates from the Gamsberg Mine into special high grade zinc metal. The investment will be done over a period of three years.
Vedanta’s vision is for an integrated zinc/lead business in Namibia and the Northern Cape of South Africa, and a 50 year outlook for KCM and opportunities in the Zambian Copperbelt as its copper and cobalt anchor for its future African growth.
“The Gamsberg-Skorpion Integrated Zinc Project is central to Vedanta’s long term aspirations for Southern Africa,” Mr Tom Albanese said. “This project provides significant synergies to our operations in Namibia and South Africa and compliments the needs of the region as a whole.’’
The Gamsberg Project will be operated under the auspices of Black Mountain Mining (BMM) which is 74% owned by Sesa Sterlite Ltd, a listed subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc. The remaining 26% interest in BMM is held by Exxaro Resources Limited, a diversified resources company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
“The output from Gamsberg, coupled with extending the life of the world class refinery at Skorpion Zinc in Namibia, will make the Southern African region one of the most important suppliers of refined zinc globally and one of the cornerstones of our operations in Africa,” Mr Albanese said.