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Lisheen mine owner plans €628m Africa zinc project

Mining giant Vedanta Resources has approved the $782m (€628m) development of a zinc mine in South Africa and Namibia, which it expects will offset volume losses from its Lisheen mine in Ireland as it nears the end of its life.

UK-headquartered Vedanta acquired the Lisheen mine in Co Tipperary in 2010 from Anglo American.

It is one of Europe's biggest producers of zinc concentrate and the underground mine is now in its second decade of production.

Sesa Sterlite, a Vedanta subsidiary that also operates Lisheen, has just approved the massive development of the Gamsberg-Skorpion integrated zinc project in Namibia and South Africa.

The money will be invested over three years to develop an open-pit mine.

"The Gamsberg-Skorpion Integrated Zinc Project is central to Vedanta's long term aspirations for southern Africa," according to Tom Albanese, the chief executive of Sesa Sterlite.

The project is expected to create 1,500 jobs during construction and lead to 500 permanent jobs.

"The output from Gamsberg, coupled with extending the life of the world-class refinery at the Skorpion mine in Namibia, will make the southern African region one of the most important suppliers of refined zinc globally," said Mr Albanese.

"This will also result in these operations forming one of the cornerstones of the operations in Africa and will partially offset the loss of volume resulting from the end of life of mine at Lisheen in Ireland," he added.

The first phase of the Gamsberg open pit mine is expected to have a lifespan of approximately 13 years. The first ore is likely to be produced by the mine between 2017 and 2018.

Irish Independent