Vedanta Zinc International

Vedanta Zinc International

Company Overview

Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) – headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa – is a grouping of zinc assets located in South Africa, Namibia and Ireland, owned by India-based Vedanta Limited, a listed subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc.

Operations include:

  • Black Mountain Mining (BMM) and the associated flagship Gamsberg Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape province;
  • Skorpion Zinc Mine and Refinery in the //Kharas region of Namibia.

Mining and milling at the Lisheen Mine in Ireland was concluded in December 2015 after 17 years of operation and the mine is currently in an active closure mode.

VZI’s vision is to create an integrated world-class regional zinc complex comprising the BMM (including Gamsberg) and the Skorpion Zinc mining and refining operations.

VZI is a significant employer in its areas of operation:

  • It is one the largest private sector employers in the Northern Cape, employing around 1,500 people at the current operations at BMM, and a further 1,500 people at the Gamsberg Project (employees and business partner employees).
  • Around 1,900 people are employed at Skorpion Zinc.

Around 80% of BMM’s employees are from the Northern Cape, including 60% from the Namaqua district (Khai-Ma and Nama Khoi municipal areas). In 2015, 12 new local businesses were created and commercial opportunities to the value of R7.1 million were provided. Childcare and education support programmes benefit more than 1,800 children at a cost of R6 million per annum. We also support various youth and sports clubs as part of our corporate social responsibility programme.


Our values of trust, entrepreneurship, innovation, excellence, integrity, respect and care form the core of our business.


We actively foster a culture of mutual trust in our interactions with our stakeholders and encourage open dialogue to ensure mutual respect.


Our people are our most important assets. We actively encourage their development and support them in pursuing their goals.


We embrace an environment conducive to innovation with zero harm as the defining factor. Optimal use of natural resources improves efficiency and by-product recovery.


Our primary focus is to deliver value of the highest standard to our stakeholders. We are motivated to improve costs and quality of production at each operation by upholding a best practice culture.


We are committed to ethical and transparent engagement with all our stakeholders. With our sights set on accountability, we maintain the highest standards of professionalism and compliance with local and international policies and procedures.


We are consistent in our application of human rights principles. In our engagement with all stakeholders, we apply the principle of free, prior, and informed consent, which allows all interested and affected parties to voice opinions and concerns.


As we continue to grow, we are committed to creating sustainable futures for our people and communities in a zero-harm environment.

History & Milestones


Exploration was initiated with the drilling activities at Swartberg (Afrikaans for Black Mountain). Exploration and evaluation continued sporadically until 1970 when Phelps Dodge Corporation initiated a diamond-drilling programme.


The Swartberg orebody is intersected.


The most-promising orebody at Noeniespoort se Kop (Broken Hill) is intersected.


The Aggeneys Mountain (Big Syncline) orebody is intersected.


An investigation is conducted to procure bulk samples for metallurgical testing.


Phelps Dodge commissions a feasibility study for an underground mine.


Zinc-oxide orebody discovered.

October 1977:

Having decided to seek a partner for the venture, Phelps Dodge agrees that Gold Fields of South Africa Limited and its associates subscribe for a 51% interest in the Black Mountain Mineral Development Company.

Late 1990s:

Gold Fields of South Africa decides to sell its base metal assets, including Black Mountain. Anglo American Corporation purchases Black Mountain and the nearby, as yet undeveloped, Gamsberg zinc deposit. Low-key exploration, aimed mainly at finding extensions to the Broken Hill orebody, continues. With the change in ownership almost certainly signalling an end to the drilling programme, the chief geologist requests funds for one final hole to test an area remote from those that had already been drilled. This is a turning point in the history of Black Mountain Mining as high-grade mineralisation is intersected at a depth of just over 1,000m. Funds are made available immediately for an expanded drilling programme.


Lisheen mine: Zinc and lead orebody discovered by Chevron geologists in County Tipperary, Ireland.


Lisheen mine: Feasibility study completed and development of mine and concentrator started by Chevron and Ivernia West joint venture.

1998 – 2000:

Pilot R&D on Refinery process for zinc-oxides


Lisheen mine: First ore brought to surface in September and forst zinc/lead concentrated shipped in December

September 2000:

Anglo American Board approval for Skorpion Zinc Project

January 2001:

1st earthworks dug on site, Construction begins at Skorpion Zinc

September 2001:

Mining operations at Skorpion begin

October 2002:

Commissioning of Skorpion Refinery

September 2003:

Official opening of Skorpion Zinc by State President of Nambia, H. E. President Sam Nujoma


First ore produced and mine officially opened.


Design capacity reached.

10 May 2010:

Vedanta acquires Skorpion Zinc, Black Mountain Mining and Lisheen from Anglo American.

5 February 2011:

Vedanta’s US$364 million acquisition of the Black Mountain Mining (BMM) zinc interests is completed.

September to November 2014:

Gamsberg feasibility study completed and Phase 1 of project is approved.

27 July 2015:

BMM marks the ground-breaking ceremony at the Gamsberg project site.


Lisheen mine: Mining operations cease and environmental restoration begins.

October 2016:

Engineering, procurement and construction services contract awarded to ELB Engineering Services Proprietary Limited.

1 April 2017:

Outsourcing of Mining operation to Tier 1 contractor, Basil Read.

Contact Details

For further information, please contact:

Black Mountain Mining (Pty) Ltd. & Gamsberg

Tel: +27 54 983 9202/ 9203
Fax: +27 54 983 9244
Postal Address: Private Bag X01
Address: 1 Penge Road, Aggeneys,
Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Skorpion Zinc Mine

Telephone: +264 63 271 2100
Fax: +264 63 271-2526
Postal Address: Private Bag 2003
Address: 26 km North of Rosh Pinah,
Namzinc (Pty) Ltd, Rosh Pinah, Namibia

Lisheen Mine

Telephone: +353 (0)504 45600
Fax: +353 (0)504 45700
Address: Killoran, Moyne, Thurles,
Co.Tipperary, Ireland

Head Office

Tel: +27 11 685 3960
Address: 2 Maude Street, 11th Floor,
The Forum Building, Sandton, 2196