Can you give an overview of Vedanta Zinc International (VZI)?

Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited and operates zinc assets in South Africa and Namibia. We acquired the Skorpion Zinc, Black Mountain Mining (BMM), and Lisheen assets from Anglo American in 2011 and have since invested over US$1.7 billion in our Southern African operations. Our flagship project, Gamsberg Open Pit and Concentrator, is fully operational and part of the South African Black Mountain Complex cluster. We aim to upscale production at Swartberg, one of the underground operations, by converting it into a major open pit operation. Additionally, we are working on developing Skorpion Zinc in Namibia as an underground mining operation and exploring zinc resources in the region.

What are some of the challenges VZI has come across in expanding the refinery and undertaking local beneficiation in Namibia?

The project to expand the refinery and undertake local beneficiation in Namibia faces a few challenges. While we have good resource integration strategies and a relatively stable market, the project’s economic viability relies on having an affordable power rate. We are currently in negotiations with the Namibian Government and NamPower to secure access to the required power.

Is VZI looking to explore the same local beneficiation model in South Africa at BMM?

Yes, we have extensive reserves and resources at our BMM operations in South Africa. We have plans to double our current production through mine and concentrator plant debottlenecking initiatives, which will significantly benefit the Namakwa community and the South African economy. Our Swartberg shaft has shown promising results, and we are planning to deepen it to increase copper and lead ore production. Additionally, we have expansion plans for the Gamsberg mine, including doubling the capacity of our concentrator plant and conducting a feasibility study for a smelter-refinery complex, demonstrating our commitment to local metal beneficiation.

Can you elaborate on the digital technologies implemented at the Gamsberg mine?

At the Gamsberg mine, we have implemented the Smart Ore Movement program in collaboration with GE and mining software developer MineRP. This program focuses on real-time data collection and analysis to provide the mine management team with valuable information about the mine’s state, ore quality, processing plant conditions, and output product value. The program enables effective decision-making, minimizes risks, and helps anticipate future issues, ultimately optimizing operations at the mine.

Do you have any other significant initiatives or projects in the pipeline?

Apart from our ongoing projects, we are continually exploring opportunities for growth and improvement. We have plans to ramp up our operations at Swartberg to produce over 2 million mt/y and aim to deepen the shaft to secure even higher copper and lead ore production. Additionally, we are committed to advancing the development and construction of a smelter-refinery complex, which aligns with our vision of local metal beneficiation and adds value to our operations and the communities in which we operate.

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