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Acid Plant Database  March 5, 2017

 

Owner Namibia Custom Smelter

Location Tsumeb
Namibia
Background 1962 - Smelter built by Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL)
1988 - TCL taken over by Gold Fields South Africa and administered by Gold Fields Namibia (GFN)
2000 - Mines and smelter acquired by Ongopolo Mining and Processing Limited (OMPL)
2006
- Weatherly Mining International acquires OMPL
2010 - 100% acquired by Dundee Precious Metals
Website www.dundeeprecious.com
Plant Tsumeb Smelter
Coordinates* 19° 13' 35" S, 17° 43' 39" E (Smelter Site)
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source Ausmelt Smelter
Reverbatory Furnace
Peirce-Smith Converters
Plant Capacity 1540 MTPD
Gas Cleaning System: 110,000 Nm3/h (dry)
SA/DA 3/1 DA
Cesium catalyst in final bed
Emissions SO2: <300 ppm SO2
Status Operating
Year Built 2014
Technology Outotec GmbH
Contractor Murray & Roberts
Remarks -
Pictures          
General

The Namibian Custom Smelter ("NCS") is located in Tsumeb, Namibia approximately 430 km north of the capital, Windhoek.  Tsumeb is the closest town to the Etosha National Park and has a population of 14,000 people.  The smelter was constructed in the early 1960’s to process concentrate from the Tsumeb copper mine and is one of only five commercial-scale smelters in Africa.  It is linked by rail to the Atlantic port of Walvis Bay in Namibia.  The facility consists of two primary smelting furnaces, the old reverberatory furnace as well as the refurbished Ausmelt furnace and employs close to 600 people, including contractors.  

The smelter is 
one of only a few in the world which is able to treat arsenic and lead bearing copper concentrates and is therefore able to conclude long term favourable contracts to treat such concentrates.  Both blister copper and arsenic trioxide (As2O3) are produced from the concentrates.  The blister copper is delivered to refineries for final processing and the As2O3 is sold to third party customers.

 

Tsumeb Smelter has become a major custom smelter with brown-fields expansion potential. It produces blister copper (98.5% Cu) and has the ability to treat complex copper concentrates.

 

On March 24, 2010, DPM completed the acquisition of NCS, a metals processing and smelting operation (the “Smelter”) from Weatherly Mining International by way of the purchase of 100% of the shares of NCS. As part of the agreement to purchase NCS, the Company has been provided with an indemnification with respect to certain matters, such as any environmental and license breaches or breaches of law that may exist up to the date of completion of the acquisition of NCS, being March 24, 2010.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Metals Suisse SA has exclusive rights to purchase the Chelopech concentrate for toll processing through the Smelter and an exclusive arrangement to further supply concentrate feed for toll processing at the Smelter through to and including 2020.

 

History

 

The Tsumeb Smelter Complex was built between 1961-1962 and commissioned in 1963 by Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL) under mining giant Newmont Mining. It featured an integrated copper and lead section (with refinery), and smaller plants that produced cadmium and arsenic trioxide as by-products. Production officially started on March 3, 1964. At that stage, the Smelter produced more than 3,500 tons of copper and 6,000 tons of lead per month. By 1986 the Smelter was also producing sodium antimonite for export. 

In 1988, TCL was taken over by Gold Fields South Africa and administered by Gold Fields Namibia ("GFN"). Approximately six years later, the Lead Smelter was closed permanently. In July-August 1996, TCL’s mining and smelting operations came to a standstill due to a prolonged labour strike. This ultimately led to the closure and liquidation of GFN in 1998.  

In March 2000, Namibia’s High Court accepted an offer by Ongopolo Mining and Processing Limited ("OMPL") to take over GFN’s mines at Tsumeb, Kombat, Otjihase and Khusib Springs, as well as the Smelter complex in Tsumeb. From 2000-2008, only the Copper Section was operational; the Arsenic Plant was run on a small scale.  

In July 2006 Weatherly Mining International acquired OMPL. In December 2008 Weatherly suspended all mining operations because of a major decline in the world copper price and only kept the Tsumeb Smelter going. The Smelter was converted to a toll smelter at the beginning of 2009. In March 2010, Weatherly sold the Smelter to Dundee Precious Metals Inc. for N$33 million in cash and shares with Weatherly retaining all mining assets.
References Sulphuric Acid Today, Fall/Winter 2016, "Dundee's World-Class Acid Plant Demonstrates the Latest in Sustainable Technology"
News
February 24, 2017 - Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb plans to increase its production of sulphuric acid from 200,000 tonnes to 240,000 for the year 2017.Last year Dundee’s production ranged between 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes. The N$2.8 billion state of the art sulphuric acid plant is situated at the smelter.
On average last year, the plant could produce 800 to 900 tonnes a day, which translated into a monthly production of between 18,000 to 19,000 tonnes.Dundee has three storage tanks that have a combined carrying capacity of 31,500 tonnes.The company could set the new benchmark for production partly because TransNamib purchased 6 new GE locomotives that arrived in the country last month, and will be used for the transportation of sulphuric acid.In response to queries from New Era, Dundee Superintendent for Communications, Alina Garises, said the locomotives would come into use next month.“The new GE locomotives are not going to affect production or cost but will improve safety, reliability and efficiency. These locomotives arrived this year in January, and will be introduced into the operation during March 2017, dedicated to transporting sulphuric acid,” Garises said.In addition, Garises said they had partnered with stakeholders and Protea Chemicals to conduct live incident response drills in preparation for any emergencies.“The most recent drill took place on 30th January 2017 in Omaruru. These drills ensure safe transportation of sulphuric acid produced by Dundee via road and rail to consumers in Namibia.“In order for emergency services to be well prepared, especially where sulphuric acid is involved, it is essential that all emergency services are equipped and trained to respond in the very unlikely event of an incident,” Garises emphasised.Furthermore, she explained that in consultation with TransNamib, they would schedule 5-6 trains a week made up of two locomotives and 22 acid tankers.In the past few years, DPM has put considerable effort into making its plant environmentally friendly to allay the concerns of Tsumeb residents.In the past, residents had to endure sulphur dioxide emissions in the air space that posed a health hazard.The plant can now filter out up to 95 percent of all the gases. Rossing Uranium and Weatherly Mines are among Dundee’s notable clients for sulphuric acid.

February 24, 2017
- Omuthiya-Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb plans to increase its production of sulphuric acid from 200,000 tonnes to 240,000 for the year 2017.  Last year Dundee’s production ranged between 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes. The N$2.8 billion state of the art sulphuric acid plant is situated at the smelter. 
On average last year, the plant could produce 800 to 900 tonnes a day, which translated into a monthly production of between 18,000 to 19,000 tonnes.  Dundee has three storage tanks that have a combined carrying capacity of 31,500 tonnes.  The company could set the new benchmark for production partly because TransNamib purchased 6 new GE locomotives that arrived in the country last month, and will be used for the transportation of sulphuric acid.  In response to queries from New Era, Dundee Superintendent for Communications, Alina Garises, said the locomotives would come into use next month.  “The new GE locomotives are not going to affect production or cost but will improve safety, reliability and efficiency. These locomotives arrived this year in January, and will be introduced into the operation during March 2017, dedicated to transporting sulphuric acid,” Garises said.  In addition, Garises said they had partnered with stakeholders and Protea Chemicals to conduct live incident response drills in preparation for any emergencies.  “The most recent drill took place on 30th January 2017 in Omaruru. These drills ensure safe transportation of sulphuric acid produced by Dundee via road and rail to consumers in Namibia.  “In order for emergency services to be well prepared, especially where sulphuric acid is involved, it is essential that all emergency services are equipped and trained to respond in the very unlikely event of an incident,” Garises emphasised.  Furthermore, she explained that in consultation with TransNamib, they would schedule 5-6 trains a week made up of two locomotives and 22 acid tankers.  In the past few years, DPM has put considerable effort into making its plant environmentally friendly to allay the concerns of Tsumeb residents.  In the past, residents had to endure sulphur dioxide emissions in the air space that posed a health hazard.  The plant can now filter out up to 95 percent of all the gases. Rossing Uranium and Weatherly Mines are among Dundee’s notable clients for sulphuric acid.

 

November 2, 2016 - Dundee Precious Metals plans to shut down its arsenic plant in Tsumeb, saying the plant has not been profitable even though it has come close to breaking even. About 50 employees at the plant are scheduled to be re-assigned to other roles within the company when the plant closes down at the end of this year.  Dundee says the closure of the arsenic plant would in no way have any effect on the operations of the acid plant. The latter was inaugurated early this year and was built largely to address concerns of low environment standards at the plant by capturing arsenic emissions and using them to produce sulphuric acid, which is sold to mines in Namibia and around the world.  Dundee’s arsenic plant had supplied industrial input products for use in wood preservation, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides to companies in Malaysia and South Africa.  However, Dundee’s vice-president and managing director Zebra Kasete said the arsenic production represented a small part of the company’s business and was producing low returns.  “Much money was invested in the arsenic plant, but it was not performing well, especially for the past two years. At least this year it was almost on a breakeven point,” Kasete told the media in Tsumeb on Monday.  “We want our complete focus to be on optimizing and expanding our core smelter operations,” stressed Kasete.  “We have contractual obligations which need to be honoured before a final decision can be carried out, especially with our customers. The plant would open to meet its contractual obligations to provide arsenic to the end of 2016 after which the closure plan will be implemented,” he said.  “The approximately 50 employees will be redeployed to other parts of the operation,” Kasete said, adding that employees and other affected parties were informed of the decision last week.  Another reason is that the site where the arsenic plant is situated cannot be expanded to enhance its production. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal found in rocks and soil.  Meanwhile, Kasete says the sulphuric acid plant has been successful in capturing sulphuric acid emissions. The acid plant sells sulphuric acid to Rössing and other mines in the country.  “The new acid plant captures up to 95 percent of the SO2 emissions that plagued Tsumeb since the smelter was established over 50 years ago. It has made a notable contribution to the improvement of the air quality in Tsumeb,” Kasete said.  Kasete further said the 20 percent of arsenic that was being produced from the plant will now be stored at an engineered hazardous waste facility within the smelting site.  Kasete also informed the media that Dundee has commenced studies to expand the smelter operations and is looking to alternative solutions to waste disposal when the current site has reached its full capacity.  “We are busy with environmental and technical assessments within the community, which will run until next year,” stressed Kasete, adding that the envisaged site can be within the vicinity of the smelter or anywhere in the country, provided it’s environmentally friendly and subject to regulatory approvals.



May 13, 2016 -
The recently commissioned Dundee Precious Smelter in Tsumeb may undergo a significant change in the near future, with plans in place to increase the size of the smelter. This is what the Economist was able to establish when it recently contacted, Dundee spokesperson, Alina Garises, to gain clarity on the matter. Garises explained that Dundee Precious was still in the preliminary stages of an anticipated expansion project and that a final decision is still to be made. "We are in the preliminary stages of this project. No final decision to expand has been made and no final decision on an expansion can be made until the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process is complete and the final report issued.   Therefore, we are not in a position to provide additional details on the proposal such as anticipated cost, potential new employment and time frames for the possible completion of the project," she added. Based on a throughput of 240 000 to 310 000 tons of copper concentrate, the N$2.7 billion smelter produces between 270 000 to 340 000 of sulphuric acid yearly. With the change in the plant set-up, the smelter's ability to recover copper is expected to improve. "Currently, the Ausmelt furnace and its lack of holding capacity has created a bottle neck in production. Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb proposes to upgrade the Ausmelt feed system and furnace, install a rotary holding furnace, implement a slow cooling system and upgrade the slag mill to improve copper recovery," said Garises. "The plant is designed to capture off-gases that are rich in sulphur dioxide from copper smelting and to convert them into sulphuric acid. The plant is an effort to eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963," she explained. Dundee Precious has previously stated that it has spent upwards of N$5 billion on the smelter in an effort to make it environmentally friendly as possible and the planned expansion will no doubt add to that figure.


April 7, 2016
- A misguided effort to save the reputation of a smelter company during the opening of its state-of-the-art Acid Plant in Tsumeb led to the refusal to confirm the details of an explosion of a furnace that resulted in injuries and a suspension of a supervisor.  The bursting of a copper smelting furnace at the Dundee Smelter three weeks ago was kept under wraps until yesterday to save President Dr Hage Geingob the embarrassment before he opened the Dundee Acid Plant yesterday, 6 April.  The copper smelter furnace burst on 13 of March and the company’s fire brigade and that of the town’s municipality were mobilised to extinguish the raging sulphuric acid-fueled fire. In the process the fire fighters used water instead of foam and the furnace exploded injuring six people.  The acid spread throughout the premises and started melting the shoes of the fire fighters, which led to six people being hospitalised for inhaling acid fumes, and one was critically injured as the acid ate through the soles of his shoes. Dundee has vehemently denied that the incident ever took place, even in the face of credible information and has gone a step further to suspend the supervisor for safety for alleged negligence a week ago, information that was also smothered.  It could not be established whether the company has reported the incident to the authorities but it must have been an undesirable incident that could have put the safety of working with dangerous and poisonous chemicals in disrepute in the eyes of President Geingob, after a lifeline was thrown to Dundee by Cabinet in 2012.  For the past half a century, Tsumeb has been a health risk caused by local sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas emissions from the Namibian Custom Smelter, until Dundee Precious Metals took over the smelter in 2010. In 2013, after consultation with government the mine was rebranded from the former Custom Smelter to Dundee Smelter with the construction of the acid plant. Dundee took a long-term strategy to bring the smelter to internationally-accepted environmental standards, and in response to government and public concerns about the emissions, they built facilities that capture arsenic emissions and use them to produce sulphuric acid which is a critical component in the mining industry. The plant is designed to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 95%.  The state-of-the-art plant was officially inaugurated by President Dr Hage Geingob yesterday. Dr Geingob said that the acid plant came as a result of numerous genuine complaints that the government received from Tsumeb residents over time. “The original complaints were in 2011 that the smelter was emitting arsenic dust which adversely affected the lives of employees and community members. The government heard the complaints and decided to address the problem. The Cabinet at the time tasked the line minister to investigate the matter with support of UNDP, which was concluded in 2012.”  The president continued that problems that were indicated in the report could be solved and there was no need to close the smelter. “Cabinet decided to improve smelter operations to meet Namibian and International standards of modernising infrastructure. Dundee was then entrusted to install modern high technology equipment that ensure the problem of 2011 is comprehensively addressed.“  Dundee chief executive officer and president, Rick Howes said the acid plant project is only the latest initiative in a series of investments made to upgrade the smelter to modern standards. “It costs N$2 billion, and it shows our commitment to improve the quality of life for employees and local people and also reduce the impact the smelter has on environment.“  The sulphuric acid produced is sold to uranium mines and is transported by rail to the coast.
http://www.informante.web.na/smelter-fire-secrecy.17547  

April 7, 2016 - President Hage Geingob yesterday inaugurated Dundee Precious Metal’s N$3.9 billion sulphuric acid plant in Tsumeb, part of a strategic new business venture for the copper smelting company.  The plant is said to be able to eliminate about 95 percent of toxic emissions pumped into the air by the smelter. The acid plant will capture sulphur dioxide emissions that result from the mineral smelting process and use these to produce sulphuric acid, a critical component in the mining industry.  The investment is expected to ensure there will be no emissions of sulphur dioxide into the air through the furnace stack, particularly over Tsumeb or the work areas of the smelter, which has for many years affected residents in the surrounding areas.  The N$3.9 billion investment in the state-of-the-art acid manufacturing plant is one of the largest direct capital investments in the country, bringing with it modern high technology and equipment of world-class standard.  “It is pleasing to note that our calls for increased beneficiation and value addition in the mining sector are being implemented by investors. The acid produced here will create business opportunities for TransNamib and other companies. These are the types of investments we value, investments that produce positive spillovers into the rest of our economy,” President Geingob said at the event, which was witnessed by Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Defence Penda ya Ndakolo and Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze, among other high-ranking officials and senior managers.  “Today we can confidently say that Tsumeb Smelter is close to full compliance with Namibian standards, pending the finalisation of the certification process and I expect this process to be concluded expeditiously,” the president further stated.  Geingob also noted that Dundee’s investment is a positive response to the manner in which government continues to support the promotion of investment in the mining sector by creating a stable political environment and a conducive business climate.  Construction started in 2013 with N$2.6 billion having been committed to the construction of the acid plant, while the overall investment in the plant amounts to N$3.9 billion. The acid plant is expected to produce 230 000 to 280 000 tonnes of sulphuric acid per year, which will be contained within the acid plant and transported in approved, safe and secure containers to destinations nationally.  For over 50 years Tsumeb endured unpleasant sulphuric dioxide fumes from the smelter operation, which presented problems in terms of public and occupational health. These concerns led Cabinet to take a decision in 2011 to conduct an investigation into ways to resolve the problem, and this process eventually led to the establishment of an acid plant.  “We saw the challenge and decided to use it as a business opportunity to use these gases to develop new enterprises that would improve the environment. This is further an indication of Dundee’s commitment to improving the environment, investing in the region, as well as creating employment,” said Dundee’s vice president and managing director, Zebra Kaseta.  Kaseta said the project is just one of a series of investments made to upgrade the Tsumeb Smelter to modern standards.

 

January 19, 2016 - Protea Chemicals Namibia and other key stakeholders, including Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (DPMT) conducted the first live Incident Response Drill between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay yesterday.  The drill aims to ensure safe transportation of sulphuric acid produced by Dundee via road and rail to consumers in Namibia. “In order for Emergency Services to be well prepared, especially where sulphuric acid is involved, it is essential that all emergency services are equipped and trained to respond in the very unlikely event of an incident.  “In order to achieve this incident response drills have to be conducted, hence the scheduling of the full scale ER (emergency response) drills,” said Michael Josten, business development manager at Protea Mining Chemicals. He emphasised that the announcement of the location and dates of the scheduled drills is to inform the public that should they see activity and vehicles in the areas it is simply a drill and test of the team’s response and preparedness.  A sulphuric acid training campaign was hosted along the route and included emergency services in Tsumeb, Otjiwarango, Omaruru, Karibib, Usakos, Arandis, Swakopmund and Walvisbay.  In order to include all emergency response services along the route, two ER drills were scheduled. The first took place yesterday halfway between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay on route D1984 behind Dune 7.  The second drill is scheduled for Friday January 22, closer to Tsumeb. However, the exact location of the second drill must still be confirmed. “The health and safety of our employees and local communities are paramount and enable us to be in business. Safety can never be compromised and, therefore, this incident drill is of much value and priority to us as a company,” said acting general manager Thinus Loftie-Eaton.  Incident drill coordinator at Protea Chemicals Namibia Karika Laas said the objectives of the drill are to test the effectiveness of the sulphuric acid response plan, to evaluate their preparedness for a sulphuric acid transport incident, and to identify opportunities for improvement in the current response plan.  Laas expects the drills to be successful and actions contained in the ER plan to have been rehearsed. She also mentioned that the drill would help identify opportunities for improvement in the response plan and for all stakeholders to be better prepared.


November 24, 2015
- An international non-governmental organisation has accused Dundee Precious Metals of stockpiling arsenic, which they say was left over from the smelting of copper from Europe.  CEE Bankwatch Network fears that the stockpiling of arsenic could eventually contaminate the soil and water in the Tsumeb area where Dundee is based. Dundee yesterday said they would respond to the allegations at a later stage.  Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta yesterday said he is not aware of the allegations, but noted that his ministry is closely monitoring the situation.  “I recently visited the area with colleagues from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, as well as some engineers. So far we feel the negative impact (of smelting operations) has been mitigated,” Shifeta said. He added that Dundee installed a monitoring system to measure hazardous materials, such as sulphuric acid in the air. “We will see within the next three months if the measures they have put in place are bearing fruit,” Shifeta remarked.  CEE Bankwatch Network accused the Tsumeb smelter of having a reputation of being among the few smelters in the world capable of processing ore that is abundant in arsenic, a toxic compound dangerous to human health if not managed properly.  “It was a practical choice for Dundee to ship ore from Chelopech (Bulgaria) to Africa, where environmental standards are more lax and refurbishment costs are lower,” claimed Bankwatch. “Back in 1988, the Bulgarian government had banned local facilities from processing the Chelopech ore, because they were not able to handle the high arsenic concentrations without environmental consequences.”  Bankwatch further explained that as a by-product of extracting arsenic from the ore, arsenic trioxide is produced and later sold by Dundee for the manufacturing of wood preservatives and herbicides.  “Since Europe and the USA have stopped using arsenic trioxide in the production of agriculture and wood treatment, Dundee sells arsenic to smaller markets in South Africa and Malaysia and stores the excess at a hazardous waste site on the town’s outskirts,” the NGO argues.  New Era reported in early August that Cabinet is keeping a close eye on Dundee’s operations through several monitoring measures and mechanisms to ensure that operations at Tsumeb are in line with accepted health, safety and environmental standards.  Cabinet also directed the agriculture ministry to continue with monitoring the water quality of boreholes and other water resources in and around Tsumeb. The management of the mine was also expected to submit a plan and budget for a hazardous waste disposal site for Cabinet’s consideration.  “Obviously, we don’t want to close them (the mine and smelter), because Tsumeb became a town due to that mine, but mining activities should not be carried out at the expense of our people,” said Tjekero Tweya, when he still served as deputy minister of trade and industry.  Since taking over operations at the copper mine and smelter, Dundee has been hard at work to complete a N$2.7 billion high-tech sulphuric acid plant due to be fully operational early in 2016. Once in full operation, it is said, the plant would help reduce toxic emissions from copper smelting. https://www.newera.com.na/2015/11/24/dundee-accused-stockpiling-arsenic-tsumeb/


September 30, 2015
- TransNamib has agreed to purchase 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers for US$10 million from China Railway Materials (CRM) Hong Kong. Acting CEO of TransNamib Hippy Tjivikua and chairman of the Board of Directors of CRM Hong Kong, Hu Zhengyong, signed the purchase agreement last week.  According to the agreement, TransNamib can expect delivery of the tankers in July next year. The tankers are made according to specifications of the Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb acid plant to maximise operational efficiency and safety. This latest acquisition follows a previous purchase of tankers from CRM Hong Kong, which TransNamib says are currently still in use.  Like the six locomotives TransNamib recently acquired from General Electric, the 90 sulphuric acid tankers will be deployed to execute the 10-year sulphuric acid rail transport agreement TransNamib entered into with Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb. Experts estimate the agreement to be worth billions of dollars.  “Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb has approved the technical specifications and quality of the tankers and they are quite happy to receive the delivery as promised by China Railway Materials Hong Kong by July 2016,” Tjivikua said.  Following a rigorous procurement process, which started about three years ago, the negotiations and development of the purchase agreement was sanctioned by the TransNamib governance structures.  “Our shareholder, the Namibian government through the Ministry of Works and Transport, supported the process and acquisition of the 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers and we regard our partnership with our shareholder as healthy as ever,” Tjivikua confirmed.  “The execution of this agreement is an important milestone in the fulfillment of TransNamib’s obligations to transport sulphuric acid from Tsumeb to Arandis, as part of our 10-year agreement with Dundee Precious Metal Tsumeb,” the acting CEO of TransNamib remarked.  The chairman of CRM Hong Kong expressed satisfaction with his company’s relationship with TransNamib.  “Our relationship comes a long way and TransNamib has already bought good quality wagons from China Railway Materials before and we are pleased to learn that TransNamib is indeed satisfied with the wagons. We want to assure the Namibian public that these 90 sulphuric acid rail tankers will be of excellent quality and TransNamib will receive a return on this investment,” Hu Zhengyong said.

September 15, 2015Dundee Precious Metals Inc. announces that it has commenced an Ausmelt furnace rebrick at its Tsumeb complex copper concentrate smelter in Namibia.The shutdown of the primary smelting furnace was initiated on September 12, 2015 in order to replace the refractory sidewall lining. The decision to shut down the smelter was made due to the current availability of necessary resources and to preserve the shell integrity. This shutdown will allow the Company to shift the timing of the 2016 ausmelt furnace maintenance shutdown to mid-year to coincide with the scheduled sulphuric acid plant maintenance shutdown, resulting in lower overall down time for the smelter in 2016.The previous maintenance shutdown, which occurred in the first half of the year and was originally scheduled for 30 days, was completed in only 19 days. Continued improvements to shutdown management are expected to result in completion of the current shutdown within a similar timeframe."The addition of a second maintenance shutdown in 2015 is not expected to significantly impact our 2015 smelter production guidance," said Rick Howes, President and CEO. "Completion of the previous shutdown well ahead of the original timeline has provided us with adequate time to attain the lower end of our previously disclosed full year smelter production guidance."The acid plant commissioning team completed handover of the acid plant to operations in the first week of August. Commercial deliveries of acid commenced in the second half of August to the Company's customers in accordance with long term off take contracts.


September 14, 2015
- TransNamib on Friday reverted to a brand it has trusted for the last 50 years when it agreed to purchase six new locomotives from General Electric (GE), in a deal sources estimate to be worth about N$1 billion.  The locomotives are said to be an improved model of the current GE locos that have been in TransNamib’s service for the past half century.  Since independence this is the company’s first purchase of GE locomotives, which are expected to last for at least 30 years.  Acting CEO of TransNamib, Hippy Tjivikua, and the president and CEO of GE Transportation for Africa, Thomas Konditi, sealed the deal at Friday’s signing ceremony in Windhoek.  According to the agreement, TransNamib will purchase six C23EMP locomotives from GE with delivery expected within the next 18 to 20 months.  The six locomotives are to be deployed specifically to transport sulphuric acid from Tsumeb to Arandis, following the 10-year Rail Transport Agreement signed earlier this year between TransNamib and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb.  Although no exact value is forthcoming for this 10-year deal that is scheduled to commence in November, experts reckon it is worth billions of dollars.  During July this year two TransNamib locomotives and one of 20 wagons filled with sulphuric acid, destined for use in uranium leaching at Rössing Uranium, derailed outside Walvis Bay.  In December 2012, two locomotives and 17 wagons carrying manganese derailed near the same location and this accident alone was estimated to have cost TransNamib over N$65 million.  TransNamib is however adamant that the national rail network is able to handle the transportation of hazardous material. “It is a top priority of government to eventually move all the transportation of hazardous and heavy goods from road to rail. This will not only increase the lifespan of our roads but will also make road transport a lot safer,” said a source within TransNamib.  In fact, the Ministry of Works and Transport has contracted a private company to upgrade and maintain the railway network. Work is currently being carried out on the railway between Otavi and Tsumeb, which when completed should realise an upgrade to international standards.  “GE Transportation is committed to partnering with Namibia and the southern African region to fast-track the revitalsation of the rail industry. The rail sector is key to unlocking growth opportunities, promoting regional integration and moving goods from road to rail,” stressed GE’s Konditi.  Meanwhile, Acting Director of Railways in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Justice Ncube, congratulated both TransNamib and GE for the excellent bilateral relations that led to the signing of the locomotive purchase agreement.  “We, in government, are pleased with the process and the speed at which TransNamib and GE concluded the purchase deal. And while we are aware that the manufacturing and delivery will take approximately 20 months, we are already looking forward to the day when these locos land in Walvis Bay,” said Ncube.  “These milestones are the kind of outcomes that the government wishes to see for TransNamib to transform the railway system in Namibia.”  In 2014 TransNamib sold four locomotives, which were bought in China for N$42 million in 2004. It cited safety concerns. The four CKD diesel electrical locomotives and 10 mainline railway passenger coaches, which were inaugurated in 2004 by the former TransNamib CEO, John Shaetonhodi, were sold on tender.  “The CKD8C … the first batch of four locomotives bought from China are unsafe to operate due to poor braking and poor filtration systems. There are also interface problems between engine and alternator, and unsafe multiple locomotive workings. The locomotives’ electrical systems are poorly designed, posing challenges to operate safely,” said TransNamib’s senior engineer, Joe van Zyl, at the time.  The four locomotives were purchased from Ziyang Locomotive Works, China North Railways, by Shaetonhodi as CEO and Matty Hauuanga as general manager of engineering.


August 20, 2015 - The “hot commissioning” of the innovative N$2,7 billion high-tech sulphuric acid plant in Tsumeb is now in full swing and the official opening is scheduled for early next year.  The sulphuric acid plant is designed to capture off-gases that are rich in sulphur dioxide from copper smelting and to convert that into sulphuric acid. The plant is an effort to eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963.  “We have taken a giant leap forward in our continuing effort to upgrade the Tsumeb Smelter and turn it into a worldclass operation,” said Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb vice president and general manager Hans Nolte. “It took nearly two years to get everything in place due to the immensity of the project but at this stage everything looks good to go. I must say it’s a ‘proudly Namibian’ moment for Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb and its employees.”  The Namibian government and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb have been working in partnership to ensure the long term reduction of emission in Tsumeb. Theofilus Nghitila, Environmental Commissioner, said “this project shows that environmental improvement can be achieved through positive partnership with industry.”  Nolte further pointed out that the multi-faceted project adds innovative value to the Namibian mining and processing scene and will also secure eighteen new fulltime employment opportunities for Namibians.  The acid will be sold as a commercial product predominantly to Namibia’s uranium mines for use in their ore-leaching processes. Based on an expected throughput of 240 000 to 310 000 tonnes of copper concentrate yearly, the acid plant will produce approximately 270 000 to 340 000 tonnes of sulphuric acid per annum.   Engineering firm Outotec completed construction of the state-of-the-art facility and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Protea Chemicals Namibia, to assist with the marketing and sales of the sulphuric acid that will be produced at the smelter.

August 7, 2015
- Cabinet has announced several monitoring measures and mechanisms to ensure that Dundee Precious Metals operations at Tsumeb are in line with health and environmental standards.  Information Minister Tjekero Tweya made the announcement to the media on Tuesday when he provided an update on the Environmental and Health Audit of Dundee Precious Metals (formerly Namibia Customs Smelter) in Tsumeb.  According to the audit, several former employees of the mine are currently suffering from cancer and skin conditions as a result of exposure to sulphuric acid at the mine. Several deaths related to such exposure have also been recorded.  The measures taken include a directive given to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to conduct a closure audit and to ensure that Namibia Customs Smelter meets all Namibian environmental standards going forward.  The audit must also include the issuing of long-term monitoring arrangements of the operations of NCS by the environmental commissioner.  Cabinet also directed the agriculture, water and forestry ministry to continue with monitoring the water quality of the NCS boreholes and other water resources in Tsumeb.  The management of the mine is also expected to submit a plan and budget for a Hazardous Waste Disposal site for Cabinet's consideration.

 

August 5, 2015 - The 'hot commissioning' of the N$2,7 billion high-tech sulphuric acid plant is now in full swing and the official opening is scheduled for early next year.  The plant is designed to capture off-gases that are rich in sulphur dioxide from copper smelting and to convert them into sulphuric acid. The plant is making efforts to eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963.  "We have taken a giant leap forward in our continuing effort to upgrade the Tsumeb Smelter and turn it into a world-class operation," said Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb vice president and general manager Hans Nolte.  "It took nearly two years to get everything in place due to the immensity of the project but at this stage everything looks good to go."  The government and Dundee have been working in partnership to expedite the construction and operation of this facility to ensure the long-term reduction of emissions in Tsumeb. Environmental commissioner Theofilus Nghitila said 'this project shows that environmental improvement can be achieved through positive partnership with industry.'  The acid will be sold as a commercial product predominantly to Namibia's uranium mines for use in their ore-leaching processes. Based on an expected throughput of 240 000 tonnes to 310,000 tonnes of copper concentrate yearly, the acid plant will produce approximately 270 000 tonnes to 340 000 tonnes of sulphuric acid per annum.

 

August 5, 2015 - Tsumeb residents have for the past year been waiting anxiously for the completion of the N$2.7 billion sulphuric acid plant being built at the Tsumeb smelter. Once in full operation the high-tech plant will help reduce toxic emissions from copper smelting.  The emissions have in the past caused health concerns in the town and as a result the management of the smelter undertook to better control and reduce gasses from the smelter.  Spokesperson for Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb, Alina Garises, yesterday said: “The hot commissioning of the innovative N$2.7 billion high-tech sulphuric acid plant is now in full swing and the official opening is scheduled for early next year. The plant is designed to capture off-gases that are rich in sulphur dioxide from copper smelting and to convert them into sulphuric acid. The plant is an effort to eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963.”  Garises said the acid will be sold as a commercial product predominantly to Namibia’s uranium mines for use in ore-leaching.  Based on an expected throughput of 240 000 – 310 000 tons of copper concentrate yearly, the acid plant will produce approximately 270 000 – 340 000 tons of sulphuric acid per annum.  “We have taken a giant leap forward in our continuing effort to upgrade the Tsumeb smelter and turn it into a world-class operation,” said Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb Vice-President and General Manager, Hans Nolte.  “It took nearly two years to get everything in place due to the immensity of the project but at this stage everything looks good to go. I must say it’s a ‘proudly Namibian’ moment for Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb and its employees,” he added. The Namibian government and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb have been working in partnership to expedite the construction and operation of the facility. Theofilus Nghitila, Environmental Commissioner, said: “This project shows that environmental improvement can be achieved through positive partnership with industry.”  Nolte explained: “Aside from adding tremendous value to our operations, this undertaking will give the Namibian economy a discernible boost as well.”  He added that the multi-faceted project adds innovative value to the local mining and processing scene and will secure eighteen full-time jobs for Namibians.  Engineering firm Outotec completed construction of the state-of-the-art facility and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb entered into a memorandum of understanding with Protea Chemicals Namibia to assist with the marketing and sales of the sulphuric acid that will be produced at the smelter.

 

May 22, 2015 - Former president of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia (CMN) and Managing Director of Rössing Uranium, Werner Duvenhage, has called on government to urgently resolve operational and technical issues at TransNamib to avoid jeopardising much desired value addition and industrialisation within the mining industry.“Unfortunately, the transport parastatal, TransNamib, is challenged to efficiently transport bulk mining cargo such as acid, thereby forcing mining companies and other chamber members to reluctantly use road transport as a last resort,” said Duvenhage during the CMN’s annual general meeting in Windhoek earlier this week.Duvenhage was specifically referring to the transportation of sulphuric acid from Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (DPMT), which owns Namibia’s copper smelter and is constructing a N$2.9 billion sulphuric acid plant.  The plant, which is scheduled to come into production in July 2015, will utilise off-gases from the copper smelter to produce 340 000 tonnes of sulphuric acid per annum.All the planned acid production is already committed to with off-take agreements with Rössing Uranium and Tschudi copper mine for the leaching processes.“This is a clear testimony that when mining grows, the upstream input and services sector also grows, thereby creating spin-offs in other sectors of the economy,” remarked Duvenhage.Last weekend an incident in South Africa highlighted the danger of transporting hazardous materials by road when a truck containing 28 000 litres of sulphuric acid overturned, spilling the highly toxic substance into the Nyl river.According to the South African government the river is now polluted to the extent that fish have died, farmers can’t irrigate their fields and have been forced to move their livestock.SA government experts neutralised the acidic water with lime. Water with a pH level of seven and below is considered acidic, which is potentially toxic for aquatic life.Meanwhile, Duvenhage noted that the mining industry’s Joint Value Addition Committee (VAC), under the leadership of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, made tremendous progress during 2014. The CMN is an active member of VAC.According to Duvenhage the VAC contracted independent consultants from Sweden to conduct an in-depth analysis of beneficiation opportunities for Namibia’s minerals. He explained that phase one of the study covered seven commodities, namely, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead, zinc and uranium.The report was presented and deliberated on at a workshop in August 2014 while a second report was produced by the same consultants, covering additional minerals including dimension stone, graphite, silica sand, salt, phosphate, fluorspar and manganese.“The chamber is confident that the VAC process will ultimately lead to a clear road map for further value addition to our mineral production. A mineral beneficiation strategy is the expected final deliverable in line with NDP4 outcomes,” said Duvenhage.

April 22, 2015
- Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (DPMT), a subsidiary of Canadian-based Dundee Precious Metals, is satisfied with progress of its US$222-million gas-cleaning and sulphuric acid plant that is due for commissioning in June at Tsumeb.The company’s spokesperson Alina Garises told the media on Wednesday that the plant, which has been under construction for the past 18 months, was almost complete.  “While workers are applying finishing touches to the structural and mechanical aspects of the project, scores of others are focussed on installing the last electrical components, cable racks, electronic-monitoring systems and power connections so that that the pre-commissioning checks can begin,” Garises told state-owned New Era newspaper.  The plant project is expected to turn the harmful sulphur dioxide into sulphuric acid, an essential component in the uranium and copper mining industry.  The sulphur dioxide gas that is released during the copper-smelting process has been blamed for sickness among workers at DPMT’s Namibia Customs Smelter due to high arsenic level in imported copper from Bulgaria and Peru.  According to Garises, the new plant will eliminate the problematic sulphur dioxide gas that is released during the copper-smelting process.  “From an environmental perspective, the plant will solve the issue of sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963. Once operational, the plant will capture and convert sulphur dioxide into sulphuric acid, which will be sold to Namibia’s uranium mines for use in their production processes,” she said.  She said the high-tech plant will be capable of producing between 270 000 and 340 000 tonnes of acid annually.  DPMT and Rossing Uranium Limited signed a supply agreement for the former to supply the latter with 225,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid annually.

April 22, 2015 -
The N$2.7 billion gas-cleaning and sulphuric acid plant that has steadily been taking shape at the Tsumeb smelter is set for commissioning soon.The sulphuric acid plant that has been under consutruction for the last 18 months is due for commissioning in June, spokesperson at Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb, Alina Garises confirmed.The plant is in the final stages of construction and this investment is among the biggest in the mining sector.Garises said that the plant is almost complete and it is only the finishing touches and the last minute checks left. "While hundreds of workers are applying finishing touches to all the structural and mechanical aspects of the project, scores of others are focused on installing the last electrical components, cable racks, electronic-monitoring systems and power connections so that pre-commissioning checks can begin," she said.Meanwhile, civil construction is progressing well for the installation of two new Peirce-Smith converters, which on completion will tie into the acid plant project.  A converter is a large cylindrical furnace that transforms molten copper matte into blister copper.The moving of the converter shells to the converter aisle will take place this month and installation will only commence by June. Garises also confirmed that the commissioning of the converters is planned for between November and December this year.According to Garises, the gas-cleaning/sulphuric acid plant project is aimed at eliminating problematic sulphur dioxide gas that is released during the copper-smelting process."From an environmental perspective, the plant will solve the issue of sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963. Once operational, the plant will capture and convert sulphur dioxide into sulphuric acid, which will be sold to Namibia's uranium mines for use in their production processes," she said.The high-tech plant will be capable of producing between 270 000 and 340 000 tonnes of acid annually.

January 22, 2015
- Construction of an acid plant at Namibia Customs Smelter in Tsumeb is almost complete, and the plant is scheduled for commissioning towards the end of this year.  The acid plant is expected to eliminate the problematic sulphur dioxide gas, released during the process of smelting copper that has caused health problems in the town over the past decades.  “Once completed, the plant will capture and convert sulphur dioxide into a value-added product, namely sulphuric acid, which will be sold to Namibia’s uranium mines for use in their production processes. Currently, these companies import sulphuric acid from abroad.  The new plant will be capable of producing between 270 000 and 340 000 tonnes of acid annually,” said Jim Castellic, the spokesperson for the Namibia Customs Smelter.  Namibia Customs Smelter is owned by the Canadian mining company, Dundee Precious Metals. Companies contracted to construct the US$167 million (about N$1.95 billion at current exchange rate) acid plant have employed 1 800 people since the commencement of construction in early 2013.  Contractors at the mine have started to lay off the 1 800 temporary workers whose contracts to work at the plant have since expired.  The acid plant is a response to a directive from the Namibian government, after extensive environment and health inspections between 2011 and 2012, found that acidic and toxic gases from the smelter have affected vegetations as well as human health in the town.  In 2012, the government mandated the Namibia Customs Smelter to improve off-gas capture and workplace conditions at the smelter.  The sulphuric acid plant will process off-gas from the smelter and the acid produced will be sold into the market through off-take agreements. The smelter has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Protea Chemicals Namibia, a subsidiary of Omnia Group, and a leading industrial chemicals company with significant presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, to assist with the marketing and sale of the acid.  Meanwhile, Civil Construction has started installing two new Peirce-Smith converters, which, upon completion, will tie into the acid plant project.  Castellic said converter shells will be moved to the converter aisle in April this year, and installation will commence by June.

September 24, 2014 - Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb has welcomed the release of the recent government medical report which independently assessed the health of more than 1 700 past and present smelter workers.  Dundee has invested over N$3 billion in modern arsenic-handling facilities and in a sulphuric acid (SO2) manufacturing plant to reduce SO2 emissions.  Dundee has worked with the government and the health assessment team since the survey was announced in 2011.  "We are committed to implementing the recommendations of the report to further minimise health impacts on our workers and the community," said Hans Nolte, the general manager at Dundee. The company acquired the smelter in 2010.  "There are no cases of cancer attributable to arsenic exposure or any other employment-related exposure at the smelter. This is contrary to some media reports which have misquoted the report," he said.  Nolte said besides skin rashes being potentially linked in some cases to individual arsenic exposure sensitivity, the survey found no other potential arsenic-related occupational health problems such as lung, liver, blood, or other occupational diseases.  "There are incidences of occupationally induced skin rashes. Dundee has medical and operational protocols in place to deal with skin rashes whether caused by arsenic exposure or the use of personal protective equipment in hot and humid conditions," he said.  Nolte said there are a number of long-term employees or ex-employees with hearing loss which may be occupational. In cases where this hearing loss is confirmed by independent tests to be linked to the smelter, employees will be assessed for compensation under Dundee's government- and union-mandated policies, he said.  Health problems unrelated to occupational exposure were reported among the surveyed employees, he said.  "Dundee believes that the health impact of the smelter is low and is declining continually and significantly," he said.

 

April 7, 2014 - Murray & Roberts the company tasked with building a state-of-the-art N$2.3 billion sulphuric acid plant has confirmed it will hire Indian expatriates to work on the project.  In an interview the human resource manager of Murray & Roberts, Jack Sidebottom, recently shed light on the matter regarding the intended hiring of Indian expatriate workers. "Due to the nature of the plant only specialised highly skilled super-duplex welders are fit to do this job and due to its complexity only a few super-duplex welders are found in southern Africa," he explained. "Yes, we are bringing in Indians to come and work for us, the number will not exceed a hundred. We will be hiring at least one local for every Indian we bring in and the exact total is not yet known, but the group will be comprised of 40 trainers, who will train locals in the workshop. We will basically take general workers and turn them into certified semi-skilled people," he told New Era. "Locals will watch and learn from the Indians during a six-month period, which is the length of their non-renewable contracts," Sidebottom said.  After six months when the Indians have left, locals would have acquired unique skills as well as an in-depth knowledge of welding. "If and when a similar project comes up in future companies will not need to bring in specialists, but will make use of locals," Sidebottom elaborated. Sidebottom said Indians go from one country to another doing just this kind of work all year round and if nothing else this makes them highly skilled. "Indians are so good at working under great pressure and can complete within six hours work that is supposed to be completed in two days. Super-duplex welders are what you would call super specialists. They do stainless steel welding, a very specialised kind of stainless steel. When we tested welders in Namibia, we actually had to bring that sort of stainless steel into Namibia, because you cannot find it here," he said.  "The acid plant being built is completely stainless steel every single square centimetre and the welding has to be x-rayed, one little tiny hole could ruin the entire project." Murray & Roberts is currently recruiting boilermakers, pipefitters and double coded welders. If any locals believe themselves to fit the criteria, independent third party accredited testers will be used to test them to ensure transparency. The ones that pass will be hired, while those who do not pass but show potential will also be brought in and trained," added Sidebottom. Heavy rains have set back the sulphuric plant project back by some months. "There is a time constraint we have been given a mandate by the Namibian government to finish this project within a certain timeframe. It has to be done," he said. "If the job is not finished the Namibian government is going to be very upset. We are already three months behind," said Sidebottom.

December 6, 2013
- Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) Tsumeb yesterday confirmed that its N$3 billion sulphuric acid plant is on schedule and should be completed towards the end of 2014. The plant, which is one of the biggest capital projects in Namibian history, is designed to solve a nagging environmental problem of sulphur dioxide being released into the atmosphere during the blister copper manufacturing process. The new plant will also create a value-added commodity, sulphuric acid, of which DPM Tsumeb's Vice-President and General Manager , Hans Nolte , said 90 percent will be sold to Rossing Uranium . DPM Tsumeb is still in discussion with Weatherly Mining for the uptake of the remaining 10 percent. "It's worth noting that this construction project will employ 600 to 700 employees during the construction phase and, on completion, will create approximately 30 to 40 new permanent jobs," remarked Nolte. Speaking at a breakfast meeting in the capital yesterday, Nolte added that DPM Tsumeb is anxiously awaiting the official findings of the recent health audits ordered by government in response to complaints from the public about health and environmental effects of the smelter operations on the Tsumeb community. The results of the audit are expected to be released next year. "We are confident that the report will provide objective and statistically verifiable conclusions about the historical and present day impacts of the Tsumeb Smelter . I've said it before and I'll say it again that Dundee Precious Metals will abide wholeheartedly by any recommendations arising from this report," said Nolte. He also noted that since acquiring the smelter from Weatherly Mining in 2010, DPM launched a multi-million dollar project to correct the widespread health, safety and environmental shortcomings that had accumulated during the last 15 to 20 years. Nolte also pointed out that DPM's social investment arm, the Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb Community Trust was recently reconstituted and a new board of trustees was appointed to determine how to distribute no less than N$2 million per year to worthy educational, business and social welfare projects. "Aside from the trust's activities is another company initiative whereby we are building more than 100 houses for low income smelter employees who are unable to obtain bank housing loans," concluded Nolte.

November 11, 2013 - Concor Engineering, a Murray & Roberts company, has been awarded the contract for structural engineering and civil work at Dundee Precious Metals smelter in Tsumeb, Namibia.  Concor will be subcontracting to the Finnish-firm Outotec for the first phase of the project, which includes basic engineering, site preparation, final costing and detailed scheduling, according to media reports.

October 17, 2013 -The sulphuric acid plant at the Tsumeb Smelter project is progressing, with engineering works about 60% completed.The earthworks' component of construction is also finished, and all long-lead items having been purchased too."The installation of the acid plant is expected to complete our major environmental upgrades at the smelter and our obligations to the government, thereby minimizing the environmental and political risks to the smelter," Dundee Precious Metals' (DPM) President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Howes said in a media statement recently.In addition, the key aspects of the plant upgrades, which address smelter fugitive emissions are complete, and the second oxygen plant, which allows for increased, cleaner production is expected to be producing oxygen by the end of October, he added.Howes said the company expects the government to then be in a position to confirm compliance with its directive and workplace air quality standards, and support a return to full production.In March 2010, DPM completed the acquisition of Namibia Customs Smelters, a smelter that was constructed in the early 1960s' to process concentrate from the Tsumeb copper mine, and is one of only five commercial-scale smelters in Africa.As part of its long-term strategy to bring the Tsumeb Smelter to internationally-accepted environmental standards and consistent with directives issued by the Namibian Government, DPM entered into a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract with Outotec for the engineering, supply, construction and commissioning of a facility to treat smelter off-gas and produce sulphuric acid. Outotec Namibia provides leading technologies and services for the sustainable use of earth's natural resources, while also providing innovative solutions for industrial water treatment, the utilisation of alternative energy sources and the chemical industry.At this stage, the total capital cost to complete the acid plant currently under construction, including owner's costs, is estimated at US$240 million (about N$2,4 billion), up from the initial estimate of US$204 million (about N$2 billion).Howes noted that this increase is primarily attributable to higher-than- expected costs associated with site preparation, including demolition, earthworks' excavation, foundation preparation, larger construction camp infrastructure and related operating costs, unanticipated expenses relating to the removal of asbestos encountered during demolition, and a stronger Euro currency.

October 10, 2013 - As part of its long term strategy to bring the Tsumeb smelter to internationally accepted environmental standards and consistent with directives issued by the Namibian Government, DPM entered into a lump sum turnkey ("LSTK") contract with Outotec for the engineering, supply, construction and commissioning of a facility to treat smelter off-gas and produce sulphuric acid. The project is progressing well with engineering 60% complete, all long lead items purchased and the earthworks component of construction complete. At this stage, the total capital cost to complete the acid plant currently under construction, including owner's costs, is estimated at US$240 million, up from the initial estimate of US$204 million.This increase is primarily attributable to higher than expected costs associated with site preparation including demolition, earthworks excavation, foundation preparation, larger construction camp infrastructure and related operating costs, unanticipated expenses relating to the removal of asbestos encountered during demolition, and a stronger Euro. None of these issues have put the project schedule at risk and it remains on track for commercial operations and acid deliveries to commence in the fourth quarter of 2014, as agreed with the Namibian Government."The installation of the acid plant is expected to complete our major environmental upgrades at the smelter and our obligations to the government, thereby minimizing the environmental and political risks to the smelter," said Rick Howes, President and CEO. "In addition, the key aspects of the plant upgrades which address smelter fugitive emissions are complete and the second oxygen plant, which allows for increased, cleaner production, is expected to be producing oxygen by the end of October. We expect that the government will then be in a position to confirm compliance with its directive and workplace air quality standards and support a return to full production."

September 13, 2013 - Construction of the N$2.3 billion sulphuric acid plant in Tsumeb started on 05 September when two ministers broke the ground for this new industrial facility. The plant will produce sulphuric acid captured from smelter waste and sold to uranium mines in the Erongo Region. The groundbreaking ceremony marked the official start of an intensive one-year construction project aimed at eliminating problematic sulphur dioxide gas that is released during the copper-smelting process.  From an environmental perspective, the plant will finally solve the issue of sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963. Once completed, the plant will capture and convert sulphur dioxide into a value-added product, namely sulphuric acid, to be sold to uranium miners for use in their production processes. Currently, these companies import sulphuric acid from abroad. The facility will be capable of producing between 270,000 and 340,000 tons of acid annually.  In 2012, the Dundee Precious Metals board led by then CEO Jonathan Goodman travelled to Namibia to tour the Tsumeb Smelter and meet President Pohamba and senior ministers to discuss Dundee's short and long-term investment commitment to the project and to the country. This week, the new CEO, Rick Howes, along with other DPM officials, met Prime Minister Hage Geingob to update him on the progress made since Dundee Precious Metals acquired the smelter in 2010. Geingob welcomed DPM's investment and emphasized the need for the company to continue its commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring the health and safety of the workforce.

September 9, 2013 - The Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, has commissioned the construction of one of Namibia’s largest-ever projects – the N$2,3 billion sulphuric acid plant for the copper-producing Tsumeb Smelter owned by Dundee Precious Metals (DPM).The official turning of the sod marked the official start of an intensive one-year construction exercise aimed at eliminating problematic sulphur dioxide gas leakages at the plant. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in September 2014 and will employ over 600 workers and upon completion 50 to 60 highly skilled permanent workers. In a speech delivered on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Katali commended the company Dundee Precious Metals on its “short and long-term environment protection plans and its massive capital injection into the local economy. I thank Dundee Precious Metals for creating employment opportunities for our people through investment in our country. This is a welcome investment, which will go a long way in ensuring and promoting the protection of the environment.”Katali expressed gratitude to the company for its commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and the health of the local communities, as well as its dedication towards compliance with Cabinet directives issued earlier this year to address health and environmental concerns raised by employees and residents of Tsumeb. “The position of our government is to create and maintain a conducive environment for investors to do business in our country, as well as to ensure that businesses operate within the confines of the laws and regulations of the Republic of Namibia, especially in the areas of environmental protection, labour relations, and the health and safety of our people,” Katali said.From an environmental perspective, the plant is expected to finally solve the issue of sulphur dioxide emissions that have plagued Tsumeb residents since the smelter opened in 1963.Once completed, the plant will capture and convert sulphur dioxide into a value-added product, namely sulphuric acid, which will be sold to uranium companies for use in their production processes. Currently, these companies import sulphuric acid from abroad. The facility will be capable of producing between 270 000 and 340 000 tonnes of acid annually.Speaking at the same occasion, the DPM’s recently appointed president and CEO Rick Howes stressed that almost fifty years ago, the smelter was built to process concentrates from Tsumeb, but over time the smelter had a variety of owners and its existence was frequently threatened. Howes added that it was only through hard work and the extreme dedication of many stakeholders that the smelter found a way to survive. “We strongly believe that what makes us unique as an organization are our core values relating to dignity and respect, commitment to health and safety, environmental responsibility, transparency, community investment and continuous improvement. These are words we live by and demonstrate with our actions and which are captured in our brand promise – ‘We Succeed Because We Care.’“We want to work with all stakeholders, including civil society, labour unions, government and the private sector to achieve benefits for all concerned. We recognize that we are dependent on each other for mutual success. That is why we are working to build strong partnerships with all our key stakeholders.”Dr Peter Weber, a senior executive for the internationally renowned Finnish engineering firm, Outotec, which has been contracted to build the acid plant, also gave an overview of the structural, technical and environmental aspects of the plant. Outotec is the global leader in sulphuric acid plant design and delivery and will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction management aspects of the huge project.Last week Howes along with DPM executives also met Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob to update him on the progress that has been achieved since DPM acquired the smelter in 2010.

 

December 19, 2012 - Outotec and Namibia Custom Smelters have agreed on the design and delivery of a gas cleaning system, sulfuric acid plant and related technologies downstream of the existing copper smelter in Tsumeb, North Province of Namibia. The total value of the contracts to be booked in Outotec's 2012 order intake is approximately EUR 130 million. In addition, Outotec is negotiating the associated construction package which potentially will increase the order value.  Namibia Custom Smelters, a subsidiary of a Canadian-based international mining company Dundee Precious Metals, operates an Ausmelt copper smelter on toll treatment basis in Tsumeb. Toll treatment is a service provided by custom smelters for mining companies who do not have their own downstream smelter operations to recover metal from the ore. The smelter receives a payment for the treatment.  Outotec's scope of delivery includes the basic and detail engineering, procurement and supply of a gas cleaning system and sulfuric acid plant, an effluent treatment plant as well as a sulfuric acid tank farm with rail and truck loading station based on proprietary Outotec® technologies. The acid plant is expected to produce annually 230,000 - 320,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid. Outotec's delivery also includes two Peirce Smith converters, equipped with high efficiency converter hoods for maximizing the sulfur dioxide and impurities capture at the converters. The project is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2014.  The new gas cleaning system and sulfuric acid plant will process the off-gases from the copper smelter and the converters, reducing the emissions of the smelter and considerably improving the working and living conditions around the smelter.  "This project demonstrates the width of our technology portfolio and capabilities for providing sustainable solutions to our customers. We supply the entire chain of Outotec technologies and services to complement the existing Ausmelt smelter, which also nowadays belongs to our technology portfolio. With our integrated solutions Namibia Custom Smelters will have a world-class process plant that will meet the World Bank's environmental standards", says Outotec CEO Pertti Korhonen.

 

July 24, 2012 - Dundee Precious Metals Inc. has announced the completion of a feasibility study by SNC-Lavalin, Johannesburg, SA on the installation of a sulphuric acid plant (the "Project") at its Tsumeb smelter in Namibia, owned and operated by Namibia Custom Smelters (Pty) Ltd. ("NCS"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of DPM.The proposed construction of an acid plant is the currently preferred option to capture sulphur from emissions at the smelter. DPM's board of directors has approved proceeding with the Project, subject to final costs estimates and commercial arrangements that provide for acceptable economics and the long-term marketing of the acid produced. The first phase of the Project, comprising basic engineering, site preparation, final costing and detailed scheduling, has been awarded to Outotec, the global leader in sulphuric acid plant design and delivery. Once complete, NCS anticipates entering into a definitive EPCM contract, including a turnkey contract relating to the construction of the acid plant. This is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2012.The capital cost estimate for the Project, based on the Outotec tender, is $167 million, which includes a 30% contingency and excludes offsite infrastructure costs, which the Company is working to mitigate through various third parties. Based on expected annual smelter production capacity of 240,000 - 310,000 tonnes of concentrate, the acid plant will produce in the range of 270,000 - 340,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid. This Project is expected to be financed from DPM's current cash position and free cash flow generation which, even at significantly weaker commodity prices, is sufficient to satisfy its existing operating and capital requirements. Commissioning is currently expected to take place during the third quarter of 2014.This Project is consistent with the directives issued to NCS by the Namibian government in April 2012 aimed at improving off-gas capture and workplace conditions at the smelter. The sulphuric acid plant will process off-gas from the smelter and the acid produced will be sold into the market through off-take agreements. NCS has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Protea Chemicals Namibia (Pty) Limited, a subsidiary of Omnia Group (Pty) Limited and a leading industrial chemicals company with significant presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, to assist with the marketing and sale of the acid."The construction of an acid plant is the final step in converting our smelter in Namibia to a facility that will operate at international environmental standards", said Jonathan Goodman, President and CEO of DPM. "We look forward to working with Outotec and utilizing their vast experience in acid plant design and construction."

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption
 

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth