Deshnee Naidoo, CEO of Vedanta Zinc International has told attendees at the 25th Investing in African Mining Indaba that Vedanta’s commitment to the concept of “Business with Purpose” is central to its work in South and Southern Africa.
Vedanta believes that business has a responsibility to uplift as it develops – and that profit can and should be responsibly generated, and that the value that is created should serve a greater social purpose.
This does not mean that the company sees itself as something other than a commercial operation, but that it recognises that, at every step of its decision-making, the business must serve a greater purpose.
In South Africa, Vedanta’s focus is on Gamsberg in the Northern Cape. It forms part of the Black Mountain Mining Complex, and is on one of the largest unexploited zinc ore-bodies in the world.
It has a reserve and resource of 214 Mt, with an average grade of between 6 and 6.5%, and an estimated life of mine of 30 years. Phase 1 a US$400 million investment has now being concluded, with first concentrate production having been shipped late last year.
While the plant operation is still ramping up, VZI are confident of being able to achieve a production rate of 4Mtpa of ROM ore/ 250,000 tons of zinc in concentrate per year by our next FY. VZI is are currently finalising feasibility studies into Phase 2, which would take output to 450,000 tons per year, and ultimately, in concept for phase 3, to 600,000 tons per year.
This would represent an additional investment in South Africa of US$1.2 billion.
For Vedanta, Gamsberg is more than a mine. It is potentially a catalyst for a whole new wave of industrial and economic development on the back of beneficiation.
This will give additional opportunities to Vedanta and to others, in what is one of South Africa’s least-developed provinces.
All this together means that this region of the Northern Cape can, through private and possibly public investment, be transformed into a jobs-rich, empowered, diversified economic investment hub with mining as its foundation.
The need for these developments in the broader South African context is undeniable. Vedanta, have the ability to extract value from this vision for shareholders but more importantly for the communities where it operates.
This is aligned with President Ramaphosa’s $100bn investment plan for South Africa – and is the manifestation of business with purpose.
The interest from potential partners is growing and sharing in the opportunity further enhances the business cases for the suite of projects including our own growth projects.
Further work needs to be conducted but collaborating with the right partners would enable this work to be co-funded and the benefits shared. This would further align with South Africa’s objectives for growth and empowerment.