Schlettwein Welcomes Billion Dollar Skorpion Investment

Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein has welcomed the investment of N$8,6 billion into zinc operations in Namibia and South Africa by Sesa Sterlite, a unit of the London listed Vedanta Resources.

In welcoming the investment, the minister said government’s efforts to improve and maintain a positive investment climate has borne fruit.

“What is so significant about this project is that the investment has benefits in both the upstream and downstream sides of the value-chain” he said on Friday.

Schlettwein explained that on the downstream side of the value-chain, Namibia will be a hub for trading in pure zinc, opening the gate for galvanising and alloy industries.

“On the upstream, instead of dumping the waste material, we are utilising the sulphides and converting it to sulphuric acid, an important chemical used in other mining operations such as uranium mining,” he noted.

Vedanta, through Sesa, has approved the conversion of the Skorpion Zinc refinery in the

Karas region and the development of an open-pit zinc mine at Gamsberg, South Africa.

The majority of the investment will go towards the development of the open-pit zinc mine, concentrator plant and associated infrastructure at Gamsberg.

Part of the money will be utilised to convert the refinery at Skorpion enabling it to refine zinc sulphide concentrates from the Gamsberg mine into special high-grade zinc metal.

The Gamsberg mine is located near the town of Aggeneys, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, while the Skorpion is located 25 kilometres north of Rosh Pinah in southern Namibia.

The first phase of the Gamsberg open-pit mine is expected to have a total lifespan of approximately 13 years, with the first ore likely to be produced in 201718.

Source : The Namibian