Vedanta pumps in billions in NAM and SA

WINDHOEK: Mining company Vedanta Resources has approved over N.dollars 8 billion towards the conversion of the Skorpion Zinc refinery in Namibia and the development of an open-pit zinc mine in Gamsberg, South Africa.

The London-based diversified metals and mining company’s chief executive officer for Africa-based metals, Rajagopal Kishore Kumar announced the approximately N.dollars 8,6 billion (US.dollars 782 million) investment for the period 2015 to 2017 during a media briefing in the capital on Friday.

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

About N.dollars 1,6 billion (US.dollars 152 million) of the total investment will be utilised to convert the refinery at the Scorpion Zinc Mine and Refinery, enabling it to refine zinc sulphide concentrates from the Gamsberg mine into special high-grade zinc metal.

Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein welcomed the investment, saying 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 during the same briefing.

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 galvanizing and alloy industries.

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

The Gamsberg mine is located near the town of Aggeneys, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, while the Scorpion Zinc Mine and Refinery 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 2017/18.