Vedanta sets sights on zinc, silver, iron-ore output growth
Natural resources company Vedanta Resources is aiming to become the world’s biggest producer of zinc, as well as to double its production of silver and increase its iron-ore output from 10-million to 15-million tonnes a year.
Vedanta has a presence in steel, iron-ore, aluminium, copper, lead, zinc, oil and gas and commercial power, with business operations in India, South Africa, Namibia and Australia.
The current zinc metal production capacity at its Hindustan Zinc operations stands at 1.2-million tonnes a year. The company is aggressively expanding its mining capacities, with six major ongoing projects.
The resources company is the ninth-largest silver producer in the world, producing 700 t of silver last year. “We’d like to increase that to 1 400 t/y in the next four to five years time,” said Sunil Duggal, CEO of Hindustan Zinc, which is India’s only integrated zinc/lead/silver producer.
Vedanta Zinc International projects director Satish Kumar has also outlined prospects for Vedanta’s Black Mountain mine and the newly finished Phase 1 of the Gamsberg project in the Northern Cape, which has 250 000 t of zinc capacity.
The aim is to double the capacity in the medium term by implementing Gamsberg Phase 2 and then to grow that into beneficiation.
The Black Mountain mining complex comprises the Deeps and Swartberg shafts, and Gamsberg in the Northern Cape. Vedanta holds 69.6%, Exxaro Resources owns 24.4% and the BMM Employee Share Ownership Plan holds 6%.
Skorpion Zinc’s mining and refining operations in southern Namibia also form an important part of the Vedanta stable.
Vedanta Resources also has aggressive targets to boost its oil and gas production, as well as iron-ore. It is one of the top low-cost producers of iron-ore in India.
Sauvick Mazumdar, CEO of Sesa Goa Iron Ore at Vedanta, says he plans to move from ten-million tonnes towards a target of 15-million tons of iron-ore within three years. He expects 80% of the growth in iron-ore to be organic, with a ‘multifold’ increase in jobs.
Safety will be an increasing priority in tandem with growth.
“We have a very focused approach to safety. Our entire workplace is sub-divided into small grids, with people responsible for their own areas. With good intervention, our safety record has improved,” said Mazumdar.
He said Vedanta Resources was committed to giving back to communities through its Nand Ghar programme aimed at empowering women and children. “We have established 1 500 multi-purpose centres, with solar electricity, clean drinking water and hygienic toilets,” said Mazumdar.
“We are developing the youth for the future, from nutrition and mental development to computer education,” he added.
The programme provides preschool education for children, nutrition through pre-cooked meals, healthcare and women empowerment through skills, credit linkage and entrepreneurship development.
Vedanta says it aims to triple the number of Nand Ghar centres within the next few years.