Project impresses the NC premier

2018-05-30 06:02
Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas and Christo Witbooi, one of the employees, who is explaining the Gamsberg Project.Photo: Supplied

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas and Christo Witbooi, one of the employees, who is explaining the Gamsberg Project.Photo: Supplied

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“I am very impressed that most of the professionals on the project are young people and that the majority of the employees are either from the Khai-Ma Local Municipal area or the surrounding areas in the Northern Cape.”

That was expressed by the Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas at the realisation of more than 3 000 people currently employed at Vedanta Zinc International’s (VZI) Black Mountain Mine’s (BMM) Gamsberg Project in Aggeneys on Thursday, 17 May.

The Gamsberg Project is a $400 million investment, inaugurated after the first blast and sod turning ceremony on 27 July 2015. It was applauded for being on target for commissioning in the middle of 2018.

The premier’s visit was part of her provincial outreach to assess progress and to engage with community members and private sector stakeholders.

This is where Satish Kumar, VZI’s vice president: projects, and Andre Trytsman, BMM general manager, revealed that the construction work has been fatality free since the start of the project in July 2015.

Gamsberg is reported to being the largest mining project currently in execution in South Africa.

It is based on an ore resource of 214 million tonne, to be extracted from an open pit at an annual rate of 4 million tonne.

The mine development started in July 2015 with the excavation of the V-cut and overburden removal to give access to the ore-body and since then, more than 60 million tonnes of rock have been pre-stripped. The plant and infrastructure construction activities commenced in the first half of 2017.

Lucas was shown the progress on the mining and metallurgy plant and the $35 million water infrastructure deve­lopments in Pella which formed part of the Gamsberg Project construction package.

The premier met members of the project team.

Young professionals from Khai-Ma, Namakwa District and the greater Northern Cape, central to the project development, noted the privilege to be part of such a big development that will change the mining and industrial landscape in the Northern Cape.

Lucas visited the company’s housing construction site where she had a closer look at some of the 109 newly-built houses which formed part of the first phase housing development plan, as part of the wider project.

She took part in discussions regarding further housing development plans for employee housing in Pofadder, Pella and Aggeneys.

The company’s social investment activities, such as the proposed empo­werment programme, the Broad-Based Livelihood (BBL) programme that BMM plans to roll-out in Khai-Ma, are aimed at creating pathways out of poverty, enabling participants to be independent providers for their families, through becoming entrepreneurs and eventually job creators themselves.

Kumar expressed his appreciation for the premier’s visit and interest shown by her and her team.

Lucas expressed her heartfelt congratulations to Deshnee Naidoo, recently appointed as CEO for Africa Base Metals, responsible for international businesses Zinc International, KCM in Zambia and CMT in Australia.

Naidoo serves as an example to women and young people alike that through discipline, education and hard work there should be no limit to what one can achieve.

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