Johannesburg/New Delhi, 12 July 2016: Vedanta Limited, India’s leading diversified natural resources company, has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with South African companies for the development and supply of equipment, and the transfer of technology, with the aim of improving safety and productivity at the mechanised underground mines of Vedanta’s subsidiary, Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL).
The first MoU relates to development of ground support systems that are critical for operational safety in underground mines. It is envisaged that these systems will be manufactured in India. The second MoU covers the manufacture of underground utility equipment and specifically the development of local skills in India to maintain this equipment.
“India’s partnerships with South Africa over one and a half centuries have contributed to the bedrock of global economic growth,” said Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta. “South Africa’s economy continues to benefit from India’s highly skilled and sophisticated services sector while India is securing its growing need for natural resources through ever-deepening bilateral trade ties. These two emerging powers give rise to countless opportunities and Vedanta is perfectly poised to facilitate development and prosperity in both nations.”
Mr Agarwal welcomed the Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to South Africa on this occasion, and commended him for his social vision, including campaigns on child welfare, female empowerment, skills development, and clean water and sanitation.
“South Africa offers a unique opportunity for Indian companies with an environment conducive to engagement with local stakeholders. Vedanta is investing significantly in a greenfield project at Gamsberg in South Africa’s Northern Cape with a view to forming partnerships with companies in South Africa in future,” said Deshnee Naidoo, Chief Executive Officer of Vedanta Zinc International. “Vedanta has a global footprint with operations across four continents. We take our responsibilities as a corporate citizen very seriously by making every effort to understand the local social, environmental and economic implications of our operations.”
Vedanta has invested over US$4 billion in Africa since establishing a presence on the continent in 2004. Currently, the company mines copper in Zambia, produces zinc and lead concentrate at Black Mountain Mining (BMM) in South Africa, and zinc metal at Skorpion Zinc in Namibia.
Recently, Vedanta commenced its Gamsberg zinc project at BMM with a capital investment of US$400 million. Gamsberg holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc sulphide deposits with approximately 130Mt of defined ore resources at Gamsberg North.
BMM continues to be an efficient producer of zinc, lead, copper and silver. BMM is the largest private employer in the Bushmanland and Namaqua region, providing employment for 1 300 people. It has been a stable employer in the region for the past 30 years and, with the development of Gamsberg, has potential to remain so for at least the next two decades.
In order to balance the social and economic benefits of developing the Gamsberg project with the need to protect and preserve the unique biodiversity of the region, Vedanta has developed a clearly defined biodiversity action plan, which outlines how the project will avoid, minimise and remedy the impact of mining activity on the environment. This has involved robust public consultations with various stakeholders. In order to deliver best possible biodiversity management, Vedanta has also partnered with a global non-governmental organisation (NGO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in compliance with the zero offset agreement.
Vedanta has also invested in health, education, livelihoods, and environmental projects and other sustainable development activities in its South African host communities. The key initiatives in the Northern Cape include the treatment of more than 1 000 cataract cases, a full brick-making plant run by the local community, and numerous school support and sustainable livelihood programmes.
Vedanta is committed to ensuring that it leaves a positive legacy when its operations reach the natural end of their economic lives. As such, the company has committed to all closure processes reflecting best practice in terms of sustainability and environmental rehabilitation. “The Gamsberg Project represents a significant opportunity to grow the local economy and create jobs while remaining committed to a long-term plan to rehabilitate a region rich in biodiversity,” said Naidoo.
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Vedanta Resources plc (“Vedanta”) is a London listed diversified global natural resources company. The group produces aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, silver, iron ore, oil & gas and commercial energy. Vedanta has operations in India, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Ireland, Liberia and Australia. With an empowered talent pool globally, Vedanta places strong emphasis on partnering with all its stakeholders based on the core values of trust, sustainability, growth, entrepreneurship, integrity, respect and care. For more information, please visit www.vedantaresources.com.
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