Gamsberg



Location:

Gamsberg is part of the Black Mountain Mining (BMM) operations and is located about 30km from BMM’s base at Aggeneys in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

Ownership:

Exxaro Resources, a leading South African BEE company, owns 24.4% of Black Mountain, ESOP at 6% with Black Mountain holding the balance of 69.6%.

Comprises:

Gamsberg will exploit one of the largest known, undeveloped zinc orebodies in the world and will comprise an open pit mine and a dedicated processing plant.

Legacy:

Discovered more than 40 years ago and held undeveloped in the asset portfolios of various mining companies, it was acquired from Anglo American by the Vedanta group in 2011.

Production:

The project’s current reserve and resource is 214Mt, with a grade of between 6 and 6.5%, and has a life-of-mine (LOM) estimated at 30 years.

In Phase 1, which has a LOM of 13 years, 4Mtpa of ore will be produced from Gamsberg’s open pit and 250,000tpa of zinc-in-concentrate from its concentrator plant. First production is expected by mid-2018, with full ramp up expected to be reached in nine to 12 months thereafter.

Progress:

The Gamsberg team was able to robustly review the capital cost of Phase 1 and reduce it from US$600 million to US$400 million. From the first blast for Phase 1 in July 2015, pre-start mining advanced according to schedule. Completion in April 2017 of an access ramp – essential for waste pre-stripping to access the ore body for bulk mining – was a significant milestone.

By June 2017, full waste pre-stripping rate of 3.5Mtpm had been achieved and is expected to continue at this rate until the start of ore production in Quarter 1 of -2018. In the course of prestart mining and pre-stripping, more than 44.5Mt of waste had been moved; by the start of production, the total will be 65-70Mt.

Construction of the concentrator plant and vital infrastructure for the overall project – including a power line, water pipeline and a high density polyethylene (HDPE)-lined tailings dam – is nearing completion.

Employees:

More than 2,300 people are currently being employed by ZI and business partners being the peak of Gamsberg’s construction. Around 700 people will be employed permanently, once Gamsberg is in production.

Recruitment of local community members – in the first instance from local communities such as Pella, Pofadder and Onseepkans, and then from Namakwa District and the rest of the Northern Cape – is an obligation for all of the business partners working on Gamsberg and a priority for Zinc International itself. Of the people already deployed on the project, more than half are from local communities and the Northern Cape.

Communities:

Community development initiatives are prioritised according to local needs and include:

  • Social investment (health, education and livelihoods)
  • Bio-investment (water harvesting, agriculture and social forestry)
  • Environmental conservation

These corporate social responsibility activities are included in the project’s 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.

Biodiversity:

A critical feature of Gamsberg’s development is its approach to biodiversity. The Project is being developed in the ecologically sensitive Succulent Karoo Biome, a designated biodiversity "hotspot" and one of just 35 “biodiversity hotspots” in the world. This has required extensive engagement with key stakeholders – government, NGOs and landowners, – which has resulted in a unique biodiversity offset agreement.

The project team is working in close partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world's oldest and largest environmental organisation and in compliance with the Vedanta Sustainable Development Framework to ensure effective implementation of the agreement.

Future:

Depending on market conditions, Phase 2 of Gamsberg could start as early as completion of Phase 1. It is envisaged that at least a portion of Gamsberg’s zinc-in-concentrate production will be trucked to the Skorpion Zinc refinery in Namibia for refining.

While the Skorpion refinery is currently configured to refine Skorpion’s oxide ore, it will be converted to also take sulphide concentrate from Gamsberg once Skorpion’s own oxide reserves are exhausted. At some point in the future, depending on market conditions and other factors, Gamsberg may warrant its own refinery.

Photo gallery

Gamsberg flow chart [photo]

Click to Enlarge

 

Gamsberg Open Pit [photo]

Click to Enlarge

Video: Gamsberg Zinc mining project