Commissioning activities underway at Gamsberg

Johannesburg, 5 July 2018: Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources, is today providing an update on progress towards completion of its Gamsberg Project at Black Mountain Mining in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The Gamsberg Project, which is one of the largest greenfields mining projects in Africa, has begun commissioning activities as it works towards full operational status.

Waste pre-stripping was completed by the end of June 2018, and ore production has commenced. In total, 67.2 million tons of waste has been pre-stripped, against an initial target of 68 million tons - and 487,000 tons of ore has already been mined, against an initial target of a 500,000 ton ore stockpile before plant commissioning. The team is consistently achieving a mining production rate of 4 - 4.5 million tons per month of overall rock mining and this is expected to continue into the operational phase of the project.

Plant and infrastructure construction activity peaked in the first quarter of 2018-19, with almost 3,000 personnel employed at the site. Of those employed on site, 1,050 are from the Northern Cape and 550 from the local Khai-Ma municipality.

The necessary water and power infrastructure (38km water pipeline with pumping and storage, and 20km powerlines with a main receiving substation) have been successfully commissioned, and are now delivering water and power at the required capacity. Construction of the 117ha HDPE-lined Tailings Storage Facility is complete, and it is ready to receive tailings. Cold commissioning of the first section of the plant, comprising the crusher and the conveying systems, is also complete.

Gamsberg has just begun feeding ore to the front end of the plant (run-of-mine crusher, conveyor and coarse ore stock pile sections) to build the required crushed ore stockpile. The building up of crushed ore stock in readiness for feeding ore to the mills and downstream flotation and dewatering sections of the plant is scheduled for the end of July, which is when the important milestone of first ore feed to the semi-autogenous and ball mills is being scheduled for. Thereafter, first product from the concentrator plant filter is expected by early September.

 The concentrator plant operations and maintenance Business Partner is fully mobilised on site and is engaged in commissioning activities.

The tragic death of a Business Partner employee at the end of May is something VZI is determined will not happen again. Vedanta took a number of decisions immediately after the tragedy, beyond those required by the regulator, including suspending construction operations at the plant, and intensive safety retraining of all business partner employees across the entire site. Including the time taken for ramping operations down and then back up again, this has meant that some construction timelines have been affected, by up to two weeks.

Around 90% of Gamsberg’s permanent operational staff, expected to be a total of 700, have already been recruited and on-boarded in readiness for the commencement of full operations.

As per our earlier guidance, Gamsberg is targeting both the production of saleable concentrate and the first truck shipment of that concentrate by the end of Q2 2018-19 (September 2018). Ramp up to the full 4 MTPA is expected within 9-12 months from the first ore feed. The operations team is fully onboarded and is working to ensure a smooth operational ramp up.

The Gamsberg Smart Ore Movement digitalisation project announced in November 2017 is on track to go live during August - it will provide real-time stockpile and blending management solutions to de-risk the ramp up of the concentrator.

SLP implementation is progressing in line with Vedanta’s original commitments.

For further information, please contact:

Charmane Russell/Marika Muller
R&A Strategic Communications
Telephone: +27 (0)11 880 3924
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About Vedanta Zinc International

Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) – headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa – is a grouping of zinc assets located in South Africa, Namibia and Ireland, owned by India-based Vedanta Limited, a listed subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc.

Operations include:

  • Black Mountain Mining (BMM) and the associated flagship Gamsberg Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape province;
  • Skorpion Zinc Mine and Refinery in the //Kharas region of Namibia.

Mining and milling at the Lisheen Mine in Ireland was concluded in December 2015 after 17 years of operation and the mine is currently in an active closure mode.

VZI’s vision is to create an integrated world-class regional zinc complex comprising the BMM (including Gamsberg) and the Skorpion Zinc mining and refining operations.

To date, Vedanta Resources has invested over $4 billion in Africa, over $1.7 billion in Southern Africa, and contributed over R100 million in CSR projects in South Africa and Namibia over the last 5 years.