India’s mining giant Vedanta Limited in South Africa has launched a new iron ore product line this year at its Black Mountain Mine (BMM) operations in the mineral-rich Northern Cape province to make it competitive, globally cost-efficient and sustainable.
According to the Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), it has undertaken advanced steps towards developing a 3 MTPA (Million Tonnes Per Annum) iron ore project, which is expected to grow significantly in the current financial year after the successful first production from a pilot plant.
The first part of the project will utilise feed from existing operations and produce high-grade iron ore and dense media separation products (DMS), to be utilised as feedstock for the steel and coal industry respectively. The project is being operated by BMM, a mining company that was acquired by Vedanta Resources. Vedanta Resources acquired BMM, which has been in operation since 1980, from multinational mining giant Anglo American in 2010.
As one of the largest private-sector employers in the Northern Cape, VZI employs approximately 2,700 people at their current operations and has brought value to Aggeneys and the communities in the surrounding Khi-Ma region through work opportunities and ongoing social development projects.
The sparsely populated Northern Cape province is said to be rich in minerals like zinc, nickel, lead, copper and cobalt. The project comprises two underground shafts and a processing plant, which have been producing copper, lead and zinc, with silver as a by-product. Vedanta holds 69.6 per cent of BMM with Exxaro Resources, a leading South African Black Economic Empowerment company owning 24.4 per cent and the BMM Employee Share Ownership Plan the balance of 6 per cent.