Vedanta warns it may have to process ore outside South Africa – by Barbara Lewis and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – November 25, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Vedanta, one of South Africa’s biggest international investors, will process its zinc ore elsewhere unless the country can fix its power problems, the CEO of Vedanta unit Vedanta Zinc International said.

South Africa has suffered rolling blackouts and the debts of state power company Eskom have sapped the country’s economy. The utility’s problems also risk scuppering South Africa’s goal of encouraging processing from mining operations to maximize revenues and jobs.

Deshnee Naidoo, the CEO of Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), which has operations in South Africa and Namibia, said she was concerned a solution might not be possible.

“If we can’t make it work here, we will have to look at other geographies,” Naidoo said in an interview on the sidelines of the London Mines and Money conference. “My concern is about government’s ability to deliver power.”

Just under a year ago, Naidoo said there was excess power capacity to help fuel a boom in the Northern Cape, which she described as one of the world’s most exciting zinc districts.

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