Vedanta to invest $1.6 billion in South Africa for mining minerals

FILE PHOTO: A bird flies past the logo of Vedanta installed on the facade of its headquarters in Mumbai | Photo: Reuters
Vedanta Resources Executive Chairman Anil Agarwal Wednesday committed to invest about $1.6 billion more in South Africa for mining minerals as he looked to deepen engagement in the African nation.

Agarwal, who is part of a business delegation accompanying South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to India, said Vedanta Resources has already invested $400 million in South Africa and is outlining more investments to produce minerals like zinc.

"South Africa and India share a very strong relationship. When Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi visited South Africa last year, we announced an investment of $1 billion (in South Africa). We are now increasing the committed investment to $1.6 billion," he said.

Agarwal is part of the Ramaphosa's delegation by virtue of being the largest investor in South Africa. He is the largest investor in South Africa-based Anglo American Plc, which controls diamond miner De Beers.

"South Africa has a huge mining culture. India does not have. We are trying to marry the two," he said. "We had promised to give business to South African companies and we have already given $400 million business to South African companies for mining of minerals in India. They are doing well."

The partnership can be for mining of gold, copper, bauxite, zinc, and other minerals.

At Gamsberg, Vedanta Zinc International has already invested $400 million (Rs 3,000 crore) since it bought the zinc mining project from Anglo American in 2011. The company now plans to make an additional investment to build a greenfield smelter and refinery, he said.

Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at India's 70th Republic Day celebrations this weekend.
Agarwal said to commemorate this historic occasion, Vedanta has committed to invest an additional Rs 11,500 crore in the land of Nelson Mandela.

The company's cumulative investment in the African continent stands at nearly Rs 30,000 crore.

Vedanta Resources CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, Vedanta Zinc International CEO Deshnee Naidoo are also the part of the high-level business delegation to India.

On the home front, Vedanta has so far invested Rs 2.34 lakh crore and has committed to invest another Rs 60,000 crore in the next three years. The company has generated 1,00,000 jobs so far in India and South Africa and is committed to generating significantly more jobs in the coming years.

Stating that he wants to replicate South Africa's mining culture in India, Agarwal said the African nation has global mining experts and India needs their knowledge.

"India has a technology culture, which I want to inculcate in South Africa, where we are developing one the most digitally advanced mines in the world. Just as we are committed to being India's premier natural resources company, Vedanta is committed to South Africa in equal measure. Looking forward, we must accelerate South Africa as a mining investment destination," he added.

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