Vedanta Zinc International suspends production at Gamsberg after miners trapped

VEDANTA Zinc International, a unit of Vedanta Ltd, has suspended all mining-related activities at its Gamsberg zinc mine in South Africa after a geotechnical failure trapped ten employees, said Reuters.

Eight of the workers were rescued after the accident late on Tuesday, and the company said efforts to locate and rescue the remaining two were its “main priority”.

VZI said in October that total mineral reserves and resources at its Southern Africa deposits increased 17% in the year ended March 31 following a three-year exploration campaign.

Mineral reserves were also higher owing to the completion of the group’s Gamsberg Phase II expansion study which is looking at expanding the 250,000 tons a year mine and smelter in South Africa’s Northern Cape province to as much as 600,000 tons annually. The first phase investment totalled some $400m, the company said.

The company has said previously that only improved access to water and power infrastructure, and a more benign regulatory environment, would encourage investment.

“We need speedy decisions on issues like power, infrastructure and fiscal stability,” said former head of VZI, Deshnee Naidoo in November last year. “Without certainty on these issues, investors will be reluctant to commit to projects that might take a long time to show a return on investment.

“The risk is simply too great,” she said.

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