Diversified mining company Vedanta Resources’ subsidiary Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) has started commissioning activities at its Gamsberg project, a greenfield mining project in the Northern Cape.
Waste pre-stripping was completed by the end of June and ore production has started.
About 67.2-million tonnes of waste has been pre-stripped, against an initial target of about 68-million tonnes.
Further, 487 000 t of ore have already been mined, against an initial target of about 500 000 t.
A consistent mining production rate of between 4-million and 4.5-million tonnes a month of overall rock mining has since then been achieved and is expected to continue into the operational phase of the project.
Plant and infrastructure construction activity peaked in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year, with the necessary water and power infrastructure having been successfully commissioned.
Water and power is now being delivered at the required capacity.
Meanwhile, construction of the 117 ha high-density polyethylene-lined tailings storage facility is complete, and is ready to receive tailings, VZI said on Thursday.
Cold commissioning of the first section of the plant, comprising the crusher and the conveying systems, is also complete.
In addition, Gamsberg has also begun feeding ore to the front end of the plant to build the required 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 first ore feed to the semi-autogenous and ball mills is scheduled.
First product from the concentrator plant filter is expected by early September.
Further, about 90% of Gamsberg’s permanent operational staff, expected to total 700, have already been recruited and on-boarded in readiness for the start of full operations.
In addition, the Gamsberg Smart Ore Movement digitalisation project, which was announced in November 2017, is on track to go live during August and will provide real-time stockpile and blending management solutions to de-risk the ramp-up of the concentrator.