The mine has a reserve and resource of over 214 million tonnes with a grade range of 6 to 6.5 percent zinc and an estimated mine life of over 30 years. On Thursday (February 28), phase 1 of the operation kicked off, which is set to produce 4 million tonnes per year of ore from the open pit and 250,000 tonnes per year of concentrate from the concentrator plant. The company is currently exploring phases 2 and 3, which would boost mined ore to 8 mtpa and zinc-in-concentrate production to 450,000 tonnes per year, the latter being ultimately boosted to 600,000 tpa. According to Vedanta, phase 1 represents a USD 400-million investment, while phases 2 and 3 will indicate an additional US$350- to USD 400-million investment.

Mr Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan Vedanta CEO said in a statement that “Local procurement is critical to economic development. More than 90 percent of our US$400-million investment at Gamsberg has been spent in South Africa. Our expenditure with local enterprises was around R77.5 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.”

Alongside Gamsberg’s unveiling, the company is currently working on a feasibility study to develop and construct a smelter-refinery complex. Construction of the project’s first phase employed over 3,000 people, while full production at Gamsberg is set to employ 800 to 850 people.

Vedanta acquired Gamsberg as part of the Black Mountain Mining complex in 2011 and went on to officially green-light the project in 2014, with the first blast occurring in 2015.