Environmental consultants SLR Consulting has published, for public comment, a draft scoping report on a proposed zinc smelter to be built at Black Mountain Mining's (BMM's) Gamsberg zinc project, near Aggeneys, in the Northern Cape.
BMM, which is a part of Vedanta Zinc International, is proposing to build a new zinc smelter and associated infrastructure to produce 300 000 t/y of special high-grade zinc metal, by processing 680 000 t/y of zinc concentrate.
About 450 000 t/y of pure sulphuric acid will be produced as a by-product and could be exported or used for local consumption.
The smelter is expected to have a 15-year life, not including the 36-month construction and commissioning period.
Some of the additional infrastructure required for the smelter project will be a 21 ha secured landfill facility, a 7-km-long water pipeline, upgrades to the transmission line within the existing servitude and an accommodation camp for staff during the construction period.
SLR Consulting said in a statement on Wednesday that BMM could avoid affecting key sensitive areas around the project by implementing careful planning and placement of infrastructure.
The draft scoping report highlights the likely impacts the zinc smelter project could have on biodiversity, soil, groundwater, surface water, air quality, noise levels, existing roads and traffic, as well as the positive socioeconomic impacts it would have.
The public review period will end on February 28.
The Gamsberg zinc mine has been operating since June 2016 and is currently producing about 250 000 t/y of zinc metal-in-concentrate.