An underground operation, with a workforce of 1 600 (80%) local people, Black Mountain Mining (BMM) mines zinc, lead, silver and copper deposit, hoisting 1.7Mt of ore a year with production capacity of 90ktpa metal in concentrate.
Exxaro Resources owns 26% of BMM.
Black Mountain Mining (BMM), at Aggeneys in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, comprises two operating shafts – Deeps and Swartberg – and a processing plant. BMM has been in operation since 1980 and was acquired from Anglo American by Vedanta Resources in 2010.
Deeps produces copper, lead and zinc with silver as a by-product; total metal-in-concentrates (MIC) equates to 102ktpa of Zn equivalent metal. While the shaft is expected to reach the end of its economic life in about four years’ time, Vedanta Zinc International views the region as highly prospective and extensive brownfields exploration to identify addition reserve and resource is in progress.
Swartberg is primarily a copper and lead producer, with silver as a by-product, total MIC equates to 13.5ktpa. Plans are well advanced to deepen Swartberg, which will increase production to 1.6Mtpa of copper and lead ore and 60ktpa to 70ktpa of MIC, depending on favourable economic assessment. Further ramp up is planned for the future, taking copper and lead ore production past the 2Mtpa mark.
BMM is the largest private employer in the region, providing employment to some 1 600 people – to 800 directly and to 800 contractors. About 80% of the total are from the Northern Cape, 60% from BMM’s host Namaqua district.