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Sesa Sterlite to invest $782 mn for zinc deposits in Africa

Sesa Sterlite Ltd said on Thursday it would invest $782 million over a three-year period in southern Africa to tap the region`s large undeveloped deposits of the metal and offset a fall in production volume from its mine in Ireland.

The company would spend about $630 million to develop an open-pit zinc mine and associated infrastructure at Gamsberg, South Africa, the company, part of the London-listed miner Vedanta Resources Plc , said in a statement.

The balance will be used to convert the refinery at the Skorpion mine in Namibia to enable to it to refine zinc concentrates from Gamsberg into special high grade metal, it added.

“The Gamsberg-Skorpion Integrated Zinc Project is central to Vedanta`s long term aspirations for Southern Africa,” Chief Executive Tom Albanese said in a statement.

Albanese said output from Gamsberg, where first ore is likely to be produced in 2017-18, along with the upgradation of the refinery in Namibia will help the company make up for loss of volume resulting from the end of life of the Lisheen mine in Ireland.

Separately, parent Vedanta reported a 5 percent fall in first-half core earnings due to lower production and higher costs at its oil and gas and Zambian copper business.

The Gamsberg project, which will be operated by the company`s majority-owned Black Mountain Mining unit, will create 1,500 jobs during construction and 500 permanent positions, Sesa said.

Sesa Sterlite shares were down 1.65 percent in afternoon trade on Thursday in a Mumbai market which was down 0.1 percent.

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