Tag Archives: Vedanta Resources

Hindustan Zinc accelerates growth plans as it partners with industry leaders

Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), a Vedanta Group Company and the world’s second largest integrated producer of zinc and lead, is in acceleration mode, embarking on aggressive expansion and collaboration plans with technology and innovation partners from across the globe.

One of the first mining companies to commit to going “Net Zero” by 2050, it has a strong focus on ESG reinforced by plans to deploy battery-electric vehicles, tap into more solar and wind power potential and recycle waste heat from its captive power plants. Such ambitions are being delivered with up to $1 billion of finance in the next five years to “go green” and, by 2025, achieve focused sustainability goals.

At the same time as it is looking to become an ESG leader, it is boosting its mine and metal production by leveraging “smart mining” and an extensive resource and reserve base.

IM put some questions to Arun Misra, Hindustan Zinc CEO, to find out how the company intends to deliver on its lofty ambitions.

IM: HZL’s 2021 financial year to March 31, 2021, was characterised by record production volumes and profitability; how were you able to achieve such results given the COVID-19-affected constraints on your operations?

AM: The uncertainty has evolved continuously. If I give you an example, we started the year with the uncertainty of COVID only; that is people getting infected leading to absenteeism. It was so contagious, it spread so fast, half of our workforce were down. So, that struck us heavily, but, nevertheless, because we had experience of last year, and this time there was no lockdown of industry, we were able to figure out how to manage and we did manage well, compared to last year’s same quarter, which was also COVID-affected. We had introduced various measures to change the way of working to ensure a safer working environment for the employees. We also got our workforce vaccinated along with their families to further minimise the risks associated with the pandemic.

Hindustan Zinc CEO, Arun Misra, says Hindustan Zinc has been at the forefront of ensuring personal health, be it of its employees or local communities

Furthermore, the automation and digitalisation efforts at Hindustan Zinc are equipped to better withstand these testing times while ensuring quick revival to a normal level of operations.

IM: During the height of the pandemic, HZL – like other socially responsible mining companies – supported communities within or close by to its operations. Can you highlight some of the actions you took over this period and what impact they had?

AM: We at Hindustan Zinc have been at the forefront of ensuring personal health, be it of our employees or local communities. We have gone beyond and extended our support to the state of Rajasthan and the nation at large by contributing significantly to the PM Cares Fund and Rajasthan Chief Minister Relief Fund.

To meet the requirement of oxygen during the second wave of the pandemic, we had set up an oxygen bottling plant at our Dariba unit (Rajsamand district) in a record time of five days and had supplied over 14,000 cylinders of medical oxygen. We even arranged 500 oxygen concentrators to be imported and distributed for use across the state.

We had provided an insulated vaccine van to the Udaipur district medical health office to support a smooth vaccination drive and extended support to the local health administrations, by disinfecting villages by spraying and fumigating with sodium hypochlorite solution and providing medical gear like masks, sanitisers and PPE to local communities.

We even constructed an 8,000 sq.m air-conditioning dome hospital, based on German technology, which has a capacity of 100 beds – including 20 ICU beds – to accommodate patients and provide them with essential COVID treatment and medical facilities.

IM: ESG is obviously a major focus area for HZL, as these examples illustrate. Where specifically are you investing in your mining, power and smelting operations to make them more environmentally friendly?

AM: As a COP26 business leader, we have always been active in tackling the repercussions of climate change and have a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions. We are pioneers in India, declaring our ambition to convert all our mining equipment to battery-operated electric vehicles and will invest $1 billion over the next five years to make our mining operations environmentally friendly.

We are continuously expanding our renewable power of 274 MW of wind and 40 MW of solar under our greenhouse gas reduction goals by converting 50% of our total power to renewable forms in the next five years. We are among the only two metal and mining companies globally – and among four Indian companies – to be part of the coveted CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) ‘A List’ 2020.

Furthermore, we have even published our first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Report this year and have also joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) forum to understand nature-related risks and opportunities and accelerate the transition towards a nature-positive and carbon-neutral future.

We have set Sustainability Development Goals to 2025 for ourselves where we are aiming towards sustainable operations for a greener tomorrow.

Hindustan Zinc has embarked on a major growth push at its mining operations with six ongoing expansion projects that will see over 100 km of tunnels developed for underground infrastructure and ore access

IM: At the same time as this, HZL has embarked on a major growth push at your mining operations with six ongoing expansion projects that will see over 100 km of tunnels developed for underground infrastructure and ore access. How are you able to balance your sustainable expansion plans with pledges to reduce your overall footprint?

AM: We strive for operational excellence and cost efficiencies and continue to stay on the growth track while being equally cognisant of our environmental, social and governance commitments, as well as our sustainability goals. We are leveraging more digitalisation and automation than we ever have, as well as engaging with technology leaders to do ‘more with less’.

The SmartDrive equipment we plan to use enables higher productivity, lower operating costs and, most importantly, zero local emissions, featuring in-built energy recuperation technology to make the most of regenerative braking energy during downhill driving and deceleration.

Being a power-intensive business, our key focus is always on reducing dependence on non-renewable sources of energy and enhancing our renewable power base.

IM: How important has it been to partner with like-minded technology and solution providers to ensure you meet these ambitious goals? Can you provide some examples here?

AM: We always look for partners who align with our philosophy of running sustainable operations to achieve company goals. We don’t need one-off solutions from companies to meet our targets; we need companies that will engage throughout our medium- and long-term projects and provide an element of customisation that factors in the realities of operating in our underground mines. We look for global partners to work with us where we exchange ideas, insights and knowledge with them in our growth journey.

We believe in providing opportunities to our business partners to leverage collaboration on technology, innovation and digitalisation, for long-term value creation and mutual growth.

To support our expansion plan, it is crucial for Hindustan Zinc to collaborate with mine development and operation partners who share a similar vision to ours, which is to leverage cutting-edge technology to create a positive impact on the entire mining fraternity. We are currently working with companies like Sandvik, Epiroc, Normet, Barminco, RCT, Siemens, etc as our global partners. We have engaged with them to provide end-to-end solutions rather than sourcing a specific supply or service.

Hindustan Zinc has given an equal platform for women engineers in its mining operations, appointing India’s first female underground mine manager in 2021

IM: You have already stated a goal of 1.5 Mt/y of zinc production in the upcoming years and extending your lead as India’s largest integrated zinc-lead producer; what is your vision for the company to 2030 and beyond?

AM: We are excited about our next phase of expansion to take mining capacity from 1.2 Mt per annum to 1.35 Mt/a. We will surely cross 1 Mt and we should be above our guidance if we achieve the desired run rates in our third and fourth quarters.

While our growth plans are a key part of the company’s future, we are also focused on becoming the leading zinc-lead-silver producer from an environmental, social and governance point of view. Our DJSI Ranking of being among the Top 5 companies in the metal and mining sector is testament to this. We are already winning significant awards for our ESG and CSR efforts, and expect this recognition to continue and grow as we head towards mapping out our 2025 sustainability goals.

Also, the mining value chain is changing across the globe and more consumers are becoming aware of the origins of the products they buy and the emissions that come with their production.

To collaborate with Hindustan Zinc on its green growth mission, email [email protected]

President cuts the ribbon on Vedanta’s Gamsberg zinc mine in South Africa

South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has officially opened Vedanta Zinc International’s (VZI) Gamsberg mine, outside Aggeneys in the Northern Cape Province.

Ramaphosa was joined by Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, Northern Cape Premier, Sylvia Lucas, and hosted by Vedanta Chairman, Anil Agarwal, Vedanta CEO, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, and VZI CEO, Deshnee Naidoo, at the ceremony.

The Gamsberg zinc resource, though discovered more than 40 years ago, had been held undeveloped in the portfolios of various South Africa mining companies until Vedanta acquired it in 2011, as part of the Black Mountain Mining complex. Vedanta gave the project the go-ahead in 2014, and the first blast occurred in mid-2015, eight months later. Gamsberg has a reserve and resource of more than 214 Mt with a grade of 6-6.5% Zn and an estimated life of mine (LoM) of 30-plus years.

Phase 1 of Gamsberg, celebrated today, represents a $400 million investment by Vedanta in South Africa. It has a LoM of 13 years and will see 4 Mt/y of ore produced from the open pit and 250,000 t/y of concentrate from its concentrator plant.

Investigations into Phase 2 and 3 are underway and will see production of zinc-in-concentrate increase to 450,000 t/y, and in a modular fashion ultimately, to 600,000 t/y. It will reflect an additional investment of $350-$400 million.

Vedanta is simultaneously pursuing a feasibility study into the development and construction of a smelter-refinery complex, it said.

Vedanta’s CEO, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, said: “More than 90% of our $400 million investment at Gamsberg has been spent in South Africa. Our expenditure with local enterprises was around R77.5 million ($5.5 million) in 2018, while we invested more than R44.6 million in 2018 on training and social projects aimed at skills development, education, health, enterprise development and municipal infrastructure support. And this was before the mine had made a single cent.”

Delivering the keynote address, Cyril Ramaphosa, said: “The Vedanta Gamsberg project is an important step in our shared journey to revive our mining industry. It confirms our view that with an effective regulatory framework, improved collaboration between all stakeholders and sustained investment, mining has the potential to be a sunrise industry. South Africa has vast undeveloped mineral deposits that we have the opportunity to exploit for the benefit of all the people of this country.”

Gamsberg is one of the most digitally advanced greenfield mining projects in South Africa, according to Vedanta. Digitalisation at Gamsberg includes Smart Ore Movement, Spatial Risk Monitoring and Management and Collision Avoidance Systems.

Anil Agarwal’s Volcan looks to cut Vedanta’s London ties next month

Vedanta Resources looks to be only a month away from leaving the London market after the revised conditions for Volcan Investments takeover of the company were met.

Volcan Investments, the majority owner of Vedanta with a 66.5% stake, has now made its £8.25/share ($10.65/share) bid unconditional after it received acceptances for its offer from shareholders representing more than 75% of outstanding stock.

“The offer is being extended and will remain open for acceptances until further notice,” Volcan said on September 3.

The company said in it is initial July 2 offer announcement that it planned to delist Vedanta from the London markets. Following the latest declaration, it expects this to take place on October 1, 20 business days from the latest announcement.

Volcan says the delisting and takeover transaction, which values the company at £2.33 billion, would be “another important step in simplifying the structure of the Vedanta Group”. It would leave the company with a listing in India, which it says provides ample opportunities for existing shareholders to trade shares.

Prior to this transaction, the company had merged Vedanta with energy subsidiary Cairn India to try to simplify the corporate structure and achieve an improved market valuation.

The company also said Volcan’s original aim with the 2003 London listing – to “provide a platform to access a deeper pool of equity and debt capital in the United Kingdom and global markets” – was now “less compelling, given the increased maturity of the Indian capital markets, together with Vedanta Limited’s significant growth”.

The Gamsberg zinc project, in the Northern Cape of South Africa, is part of this growth. The mine is expected to move into commercial production this month on its way to ramping up to 250,000 t/y of zinc concentrate output.

As of 13:00 (London time) on August 31, Volcan had received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of 72.73 million Vedanta shares, representing approximately 25.8% of Vedanta Resources and some 77.04% of the Vedanta shares to which the offer relates.

Vedanta is not the only London-listed company to count Volcan Investments as an investor. The firm, which is majority owned by Indian business entrepreneur Anil Agarwal, also holds close to 20% of Anglo American.

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.