JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Vedanta Resources’ Zinc International subsidiary has committed more than 80% of the $400-million capital expenditure (capex) for the first phase of the Gamsberg zinc project, in the Northern Cape.
The first phase of the Gasmberg project is expected to have a mine life of 13 years, replacing the production lost by the closure of the Lisheen mine, in Ireland, and restoring Zinc International’s volumes to more than 300 000 t/y.
Prestart activities and waste stripping are progressing well, with more than 25-million tonnes of the estimated 65-million to 70-million tonnes of waste rock excavated to date.
Of the estimated peak of 1 500 jobs to be created during construction, more than 1 100 jobs had been established at site, Vedanta Zinc projects VP Satish Kumar told Mining Weekly Online during a site visit to the project on Friday.
“Of the 1 153 employees at site last week, more than 58% came from the surrounding labour sending areas,” he added.
When fully operational, the mine will permanently employ between 850 and 900 people.
The first phase of the Gamsberg project will comprise an openpit mine; a concentrator plant with an ore feed rate of four-million tonnes a year; and associated infrastructure, including a tailings dam, a waste rock dump and stockpiles, offices and workshops, a power transmission line from the Aggeneys substation to Gamsberg, a water pipeline, an access road from the N14 to Gamsberg, as well as 300 to 350 housing units.
One of the largest civil cement pours occurred at Gamsberg on Friday, with about 760 m3 of concrete poured over a 24-hour to 30-hour period for the raft foundation of the semi-autogenous grinding mill at the concentrator plant. The concentrator is expected to produce about 250 000 t/y of zinc metal in concentrate.
Further, the lining of the tailings storage facility with a high-density polyethylene lining started in July and was well under way, Kumar said, noting that the facility would require about 110 ha of lining.
Construction of the tailings storage facility is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
Further, construction of the water pipeline, which will run for almost 38 km from the Orange river water offtake, in Pella, in the Northern Cape, to the mine, is under way. Public water board Sedibeng will operate the pipeline.
Meanwhile, all major orders for the integrated process plant, water and power, mining and other prestart activities have already been placed, the company reported last month.
Manufacturing of critical machinery such as the mills, crusher and transformers is under way, with major contractors mobilised to site, and with site activities including civil works, power lines and water lines under way.
The project remains on schedule to achieve the first production target in mid-2018.