Commissioning Begins at Gamsberg

The new Gamsberg concentrator is expected to produce 250,000 mt/y of zinc in concentrate.
Vedanta Zinc International is nearing startup of its Gamsberg open-pit zinc mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province and expects to produce the first zinc concentrate by early September. Feeding of ore to the front end of the plant (run-of-mine crusher, conveyor and coarse-ore stock pile sections) began in early July to build the required crushedore stockpile. First feed to the flotation and dewatering sections of the plant was scheduled for the end of July.

Phase 1 of the Gamsberg project will have a mine life of 13 years, producing an expected 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of concentrator feed from the open-pit mine and 250,000 mt/y of zinc in concentrate. Ramp up to full production will take from nine to 12 months.

The bulk of Gamsberg concentrate production will be shipped to zinc smelters from the port at Saldanha on South Africa’s west coast. Some concentrate will be delivered to Vedanta’s Skorpion zinc refinery in southern Namibia.

Gamsberg has a large reserve and resource of 214 million mt at an average grade of between 6% and 6.5% zinc and an estimated mine life of 30 years through three phases of production.

Waste pre-stripping of the Gamsberg open pit was completed at the end of June. In total, 67.2 million mt of waste was pre-stripped, and 487,000 mt of ore had been mined, against an initial target of a 500,000-mt ore stockpile before plant commissioning. The mine was consistently achieving a production rate of 4 million mt/month to 4.5 million mt/ month of overall rock mining, and this rate is expected to continue into the operational phase of the project.

The necessary water and power infrastructure (a 38-km water pipeline with pumping and storage and 20-km of powerlines with a main receiving substation) have been successfully commissioned and are delivering water and power at the required capacity. Construction of the 117-ha high-density-polyethylene-lined tailings storage facility is complete and ready to receive tailings.

Gamsberg’s permanent operational staff will total about 700, and about 90% of these employees had been hired and were on site in early July.

As featured in Womp 2018 Vol 08 -