Vedanta’s Gamsberg zinc project edges closer to commercial production

Vedanta Resources’ latest quarterly report indicates the zinc market could be only a month away from welcoming a new mine to its quarters.

In the company’s first quarter report (to end-June), it said the Gamsberg zinc project, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, was on course to reach commercial production in September.

Almost 100% of pre-stripping, with 67 million tonnes of waste excavation, had been completed to the end of June, while 500,000 t of ore had been stockpiled ahead of the plant feed.

The crusher has been commissioned and the crushed ore stockpile is currently being built in readiness for commissioning of the milling and flotation area, Vedanta said. The water and power infrastructure (38 km water pipeline with pumping and storage, and 20 km powerlines with a main receiving substation) has been commissioned and construction of the high density polyethylene-lined tailings storage facility has been completed and is ready to receive tailings.

All of this progress means the company is in line to start commercial production from the plant next month, with a nine-to-12 month ramp up expected to full production of 250,000 t per year of zinc concentrate.

Gamsberg has a large reserve and resource of 214 million tonnes, with an average grade of between 6-6.5%, and an estimated life of mine (LOM) of 30 years. In phase one, which has a LOM of 13 years, 4 Mt/y of ore will be produced from Gamsberg’s open pit.

There are further phase two and phase three expansions planned at Grasberg, which could see the mine’s capacity go to 450,000 t/y and 600,000 t/y, respectively, of zinc concentrate.

ELB Engineering of South Africa is the EPC contractor for Gamsberg.