Skorpion Zinc (Skorpion) is located 25km north of the town of Rosh Pinah, in the //Kharas Region of southern Namibia.
Comprising an open-pit mine and refinery, Skorpion is the largest integrated zinc operation in Africa and is to VZI’s vision for a Southern African zinc complex with international standing.
The US$200 million Pit 112 expansion currently underway has increased Skorpion’s reserve and resource to 26Mt (3Mt zinc) and extended the life of mine from 2017 to 2020. Refined zinc production in FY2018 is expected to be approximately 90kt, rising to approximately 130kt in 2020.
Skorpion came into production in 2003 and was acquired from Anglo American by VZI in 2010/2011.
Skorpion provides employment to approximately 1,900 people including those of its business partners). Some 94% of the total are Namibian citizens, in compliance with Namibia’s localization policy. Employee training and development opportunities include:
- in-house and external training in supervisory and leadership skills, and safety, health, and environment management development programs;
- a 3-4 year graduate training program for former bursars and non-bursars;
- a self-study assistance scheme; and
- a mentorship program.
The Pit 112 expansion is a critical enabler for the planned ~US$160 million conversion of Skorpion’s Refinery to refine zinc sulfide concentrate from the Gamsberg mine, across the border in South Africa, as well as from other operations in Namibia and South Africa. An aggressive drilling program is underway with a view both to developing Skorpion as an underground mining operation and identifying zinc resources elsewhere in Namibia. Other projects under consideration include the processing of a 6Mt stockpile of low-grade zinc ore and the processing of >100 000t of copper, currently mined as waste.
Skorpion, in its approach to sustainable development, applies VZI’s Sustainable development model and Sustainable Development Framework, both derived from the Vedanta group of companies' approach and strategy. VZI’s core values underpin Skorpion’s vision of zero harm to people and the environment. A sustainability committee provides direction and oversight. Key sustainability focus areas include:
- The environment. Skorpion is located in one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots – the succulent Karoo Biome – and near the Spergebeit National Park. To manage its actual and potential impacts on these environmentally sensitive areas, Skorpion has a biodiversity action plan, backed by a biodiversity policy.
- Communities. Skorpion works directly with key stakeholders in order to develop and fund various corporate social investment (CSI) projects, the majority of which are in education, but also include skills development healthcare, sport, and infrastructure development.
- Business continuity. Skorpion's biggest obligation in terms of sustainability is to stay in business; without this, it cannot continue to deliver on its other obligations and those of VZI. This is what drives the Pit 112 expansion, the planned refinery conversion, exploration, and other projects.