One barometer of a country’s move towards modernisation and rising consumer demand is its requirement for zinc.
In India, zinc demand is being driven by a range of needs, including car manufacturing, consumer electronics and new urban infrastructure, while other by-products such as silver for solar panels and lead for car batteries are also in strong demand.
This augurs well for Zinc India. The Company is one of the lowest-cost producers in the world and is poised to become a Top 5 global producer of silver.
Central to its growth strategy is the transition from open-cast to underground mining, which has been completed this year. Our vision is to grow our zinc-lead output to 1.5 million tonnes per annum and our silver portfolio to 1,500 tonnes. Phase I of this expansion has been approved by the Board. This will increase the mined metal and smelting capacity from 1.2 mtpa to 1.35 mtpa over a period of three years. Phase I will be executed concurrently with the ongoing mining expansion, which is now in its final stages, to take capacity to 1.2 mtpa by FY2020.
Zinc India ranked just outside the Top 10 in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the Metal and Mining sector and the HZL Mining Academy trained 200 young people in underground mining skills during the year.
The mine is therefore being transformed from a mechanised mine to a fully digital one, providing much greater transparency across the value chain and enabling us to maximise efficiency, improve safety and reduce the cost of operations.
A pilot scheme over 1.5 km of decline and portals has already been successfully implemented and full roll-out across the mine is now in progress. Once fully operational, the project will allow monitoring and optimisation of assets, traffic management, improved scheduling and task management, autonomous fleet operations, and real time visibility of machine health and productivity data.
As a result, we expect to see a wide range of benefits, including: