Vedanta Resources, the diversified natural resources company, has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with SA firms to improve underground mining.Vedanta Resources has signed two MoUs with South African companies for the development and supply of equipment, and the transfer of technology, with the aim of improving safety and productivity at the mechanised underground mines of Vedanta’s subsidiary, Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL).
The first MoU relates to development of ground support systems that are critical for operational safety in underground mines, which are expected to be manufactured in India.
The second MoU covers the manufacture of underground utility equipment and specifically the development of local skills in India to maintain this equipment.
[quote]Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources says India’s partnerships with South Africa over one and a half centuries have contributed to the bedrock of global economic growth.
“South Africa’s economy continues to benefit from India’s highly skilled and sophisticated services sector while India is securing its growing need for natural resources through ever-deepening bilateral trade ties. These two emerging powers give rise to countless opportunities and Vedanta is perfectly poised to facilitate development and prosperity in both nations,” says Agarwal.
Agarwal welcomed Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to South Africa on this occasion, and commended him for his social vision, including campaigns on child welfare, female empowerment, skills development, and clean water and sanitation.
Deshnee Naidoo, CEO of Vedanta Zinc International says that South Africa offers a unique opportunity for Indian companies with an environment conducive to engagement with local stakeholders.
She further explained that the company is investing significantly in a greenfield project at Gamsberg in South Africa’s Northern Cape with a view to forming partnerships with companies in South Africa in future.
“Vedanta has a global footprint with operations across four continents. We take our responsibilities as a corporate citizen very seriously by making every effort to understand the local social, environmental and economic implications of our operations,” says Naidoo.
Vedanta Resources has invested over US$4 billion in Africa since establishing a presence on the continent in 2004. Currently, the company mines copper in Zambia, produces zinc and lead concentrate at Black Mountain Mining (BMM) in South Africa, and zinc metal at Skorpion Zinc in Namibia.
Recently, Vedanta commenced its Gamsberg zinc project at BMM with a capital investment of $400 million. Gamsberg holds one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc sulphide deposits with approximately 160 Mt of defined ore resources at Gamsberg North.
BMM continues to be an efficient producer of zinc, lead, copper and silver. BMM is the largest private employer in the Bushmanland and Namaqua region, providing employment for 1 300 people.
Vedanta has also invested in health, education, livelihoods, and environmental projects and other sustainable development activities in its South African host communities.
The key initiatives in the Northern Cape include the treatment of more than 1 000 cataract cases, a full brick-making plant run by the local community, and numerous school support and sustainable livelihood programmes.
The company is committed to ensuring that it leaves a positive legacy when its operations reach the natural end of their economic lives. As such, the company has committed to all closure processes reflecting best practice in terms of sustainability and environmental rehabilitation.