The Vedanta board approved a R7 billion investment towards the expansion of Gamsberg mine.

The expansion will see the mine double up its production capacity. Situated in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, the mine has a vision to produce ‘Green Metals’.

The investment will enable Gamsberg mine to double its annual ore capacity from 4 million tonnes to 8 million tonnes and build another 4Mt concentrator plant to produce an additional approximately 200 000 tonnes of zinc metal in concentrate. With this expansion, Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), South Africa, will become the largest zinc producer in Africa, with an annual production of approximately 500 000 tonnes of zinc metal in concentrate.

Commenting on the investment, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said, “I am very pleased to see this growth investment, which shows our commitment to Northern Cape and South Africa. I look forward to seeing this flagship project come into production as soon as possible to make a significant socio-economic contribution to our host communities. This project will double up current Gamsberg production and create thousands of jobs. We have witnessed unprecedented socio-economic benefits with the success of the Gamsberg phase 1.”

Employment opportunities

Since its official opening and inauguration by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019, Gamsberg mine has been instrumental in creating employment opportunities and improving livelihoods. There are over 1 200 permanent personnel currently employed at the Gamsberg Mine. Gamsberg phase 2 (R7 billion investment) will create 1 500 – 2000 jobs at its peak during the construction phase and will create 800 – 1000 permanent jobs during operations.

“This investment approval indicates VZI’s commitment to keep growing even amid a pandemic that has halted majority growth investments and threatened the survival of companies across various industries,” explained VZI Executive Director and CFO, Pushpender Singla. “This investment is a sign of our commitment to partnering with the Northern Cape Government. It also serves as the beginning of new business opportunities with some of the local businesses and a continuation of partnerships with other small companies in the province. In addition, this project will form part of the Namakwa Special Economic Zone, which will contribute and grow secondary industries.”

Guided by the philosophy of ‘Zero Harm, Zero Waste, Zero Discharge’, VZI focuses on delivering sustainable and responsible growth to create value for all its stakeholders. “Accordingly, during last year, in Jul 2021, we have announced an investment of R600 million into Magnetite project. This project will recover iron ore (magnetite) from the BMM tailings to significantly reduce tailings disposal upto 1Mt. This process will produce high-quality Magnetite with Fe grade > 65%.  The first production is expected in September of 2022. This project will create 360 jobs during construction and 250 permanent jobs,” added Singla.

These investments will also see Vedanta’s ‘Business with Purpose’ model unlock new community projects that will enable the mine to invest in better education, health and skills development programmes in the Northern Cape.

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