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Fatality halts NC zinc mine construction work

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The mine is currently in its construction phase and the cause of the death as been described as a “construction accident”

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WORK at the the Gamsberg Vedanta Zinc International mine has come to halt following the death of an employee during a “mining-related” incident.

The death occurred at the mine on Friday, when a mine employee, a bobcat operator, was killed while on duty at the mine, which is located about 30 kilometres from Aggeneys in the Northern Cape.

The mine is currently in its construction phase and the cause of the death as been described as a “construction accident” by Vedanta Zinc International spokesperson, Marika Muller.

Muller said yesterday that while the worker’s family were notified immediately after the incident, and that they were receiving support from Vedanta, he would not be identified to “protect his family’s privacy”.

She added that all work at Gamsberg was halted while investigations into the incident – involving the Department of Mineral Resources, along with the SAPS, local emergency services, trade union representatives and Vedanta management – were under way.

“The Department of Mineral Resources, along with the SAPS, were on site on Saturday. After an investigation they authorised the recommencement of work in all areas of the Gamsberg Project, except in the specific section where the fatality occurred. However, Vedanta has made the decision to only again commence work on Thursday (tomorrow), after three days of safety engagements with staff across the Gamsberg operation,” Muller said.

She added that this is the first fatality at Gamsberg since work started.

“This is devastating for the Vedanta family. Vedanta remains absolutely committed to “zero harm” operations. This is a non-negotiable,” she concluded.

Gamsberg will exploit one of the largest known, undeveloped zinc ore bodies in the world and will comprise an open pit mine and a dedicated processing plant. First production is expected by mid-2018, with full ramp up expected to be reached in nine to 12 months thereafter.

More than 2 300 people are currently employed at the mine and around 700 people will be employed permanently, once Gamsberg is in production.