Black Mountain Mining
Black Mountain Mining (Pty) Ltd holds Vedanta Zinc International’s South African operations, Deeps, Swartberg, and Gamsberg mines. These mines form what is known as the Black Mountain Complex. Black Mountain Mining's operations started with its Deeps and Swartberg underground operations (known as BMM) in 1979 and are now considered mature mines. The operations include an on-site lactation room for breastfeeding mothers, a first-response emergency team, and a dedicated PROTO team. The Gamsberg mine is Black Mountain Mining’s open-pit operation and the largest zinc project in the Northern Cape. Considering its remote location, Gamsberg offers employees an on-site Canteen, Clinic, and dedicated Surface Fire Responder team. When fully developed, Gamsberg will be one of the world’s top five zinc mines.
Gamsberg is located in the heart of the Northern Cape’s succulent Karoo, about 20km east of Aggeneys and about 30km from BMM.
Gamsberg comprises an open-pit mine, a dedicated concentrator plant, and a robotic assay laboratory.
Swartberg is accessed through a decline and produces primarily copper and lead, with silver as a by-product. The total production rate is around 900 thousand tonnes per annum.
The annual production of both operations for FY24 is of the order of 75Kt of metal-in-concentrate.
The main mining method used is cut-and-fill but where the orebody permits, massive mining methods such as blast-holes and long-hole stoppings are used to mine stopes of 20m to 30m in height. Backfilling is employed at Deeps to provide the primary working platform in the cut-and-fill mining method and where required for stability in the long-hole mining method. The mill has a nominal capacity of 1.65 million tonnes per annum. Ore is processed using conventional techniques and differential flotation. Ore is passed to the primary crusher and crushed to 150mm after which it then goes to the secondary and tertiary crushers to be crushed to 16mm. After milling, the ore is fed into the flotation circuit.
Following differential flotation copper, lead, and zinc concentrates are produced. The ore contains approximately 25g/t silver, which is recovered in both the copper and lead concentrates.
Open-Pit Operations: Gamsberg primarily produces zinc-in-concentrate.
Gamsberg Phase I produces 4 million tonnes of ore per annum from its open-pit mine, at full production capacity, and 250 thousand tonnes per annum of zinc-in-concentrate.
It employs a conventional drilling and blasting method, followed by loading and haulage. The zinc ore mined is processed through crushing, and milling operations, being sent for aeration and flotation procedures, and eventually to the concentrator for zinc concentrate production.
The Gamsberg mine has a reserve and resource of more than 180Mt, an average grade of between 6 and 6.5%, and an estimated life of mine of 20+ years.
The Gamsberg Phase II Investment approval was announced in March 2022 and on the 5th of August 2022, the official Groundbreaking of Gamsberg Phase II was led by the Northern Cape Premier, Dr. Zamani Saul.
The expansion will more than double Gamsberg’s annual ore capacity from 4 million to 8.5 million tonnes. Additionally, the expansion is set to double Gamsberg’s processing capacity to 500 thousand tonnes per annum of metal-in-concentrate, bringing South Africa onto the Global Zinc Map.
The Gamsberg Phase II expansion project is currently in the construction phase and promises to create 2,000 – 2,500 jobs during the construction phase and a further 800 to 1,000 permanent jobs during the peak operations phase. Our current mineral reserves and resources show a potential life of mine of around 50 years.
Gamsberg was discovered more than 40 years ago and held undeveloped in the asset portfolios of various mining companies, but after the acquisition, Vedanta gave the project the go-ahead in 2014, and the first blast occurred in mid-2015 just eight months later. President Cyril Ramaphosa officially inaugurated Gamsberg on 28 February 2019.
Gamsberg currently employs more than 2,000 employees directly and indirectly.
Community development initiatives are prioritized according to local needs and are included in the business plans and appropriate implementation is carefully considered in collaboration with associates, government bodies, and NGOs. Progress and performance are measured by third-party reviews and reported regularly to all stakeholders.
We anticipate that at the peak operation of the Black Mountain Complex, it will contribute ZAR 4.5 billion a year to South Africa's GDP and add ZAR 1.1 billion in revenue to the national fiscus.