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Acid Plant Database   January 19, 2021


Owner Mopani Copper Mine PLC


Location Mufulira


73.1% Glencore www.glencore.com
16.9% First Quantum www.first-quantum.com
10% ZCCM www.zccm-ih.com.zm  

2021 - 100% ZCCM-IH

Website www.glencore.com

Mufulira Copper Smelter

Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2

12° 31' 59" S, 28° 13' 56" E

12° 31' 59" S, 28° 13' 50" E
Type of Plant Metallurgical Metallurgical
Gas Source

Isasmelt and P-S Converters

Isasmelt and P-S Converters

Plant Capacity Phase 1: 950 MTPD
Phase 2: 1150 MTPD
97% Conversion
Status Operating Operating
Year Built 2007 2014
Technology MECS -
Contractor Engineerng & Projects Company (EPC) (formerly Grinaker – LTA Process Engineering) -
The first phase is currently being erected and will treat the fugitive gases from the furnace side of the smelter, to produce about 850 t/d of acid.  The second phase, which will have a similar capacity of 850 t/d to 1 000 t/d, will capture gases from the converters and the anode furnaces.  This will be done only once the furnace has been upgraded in two years’ time.  The acid plant will serve to capture a large percentage of the SO2 gases currently being emitted into the atmosphere, and will fulfil what was one of the provisions of MCM’s agreement with the government.   Importantly, the sulphuric acid plant will supply MCM’s latest endeavour, which is the onsite leaching project at Mufulira mine, which will take up 400 t to 550 t of acid a day.

Reported cost of acid plant: US$27 million


Project Fact Sheet - Aveng EPC


Mopani Copper 4.jpg (39779 bytes)  Mopani Copper 5.jpg (36205 bytes)  Mopani Copper 6.jpg (29653 bytes)
General Mopani Copper Mine is an integrated copper and cobalt producer located in the Copperbelt of Zambia. Mopani's operations consist of four underground mines, a concentrator and a cobalt plant in the town of Kitwe and an underground mine, concentrator, smelter and refinery in the town of Mufulira. The capacity of the Mufulira Copper Smelter is being expanded in a phased approach to 870,000 tons of concentrate by the end of 2010. The current capacity with the new Isa smelt furnace is 650,000 tons of concentrate.

Also, the company has four SXEW plants (Solvent Extraction and Electrowinning), two at Mufulira and two at Nkana. The feed is sourced from both in-situ leaching, vat leaching and heap leaching. The copper cathode production from the SXEW plants is currently 75,000 tons, which is being expanded to 100,000 tons by the end of 2008.

www.grinaker-lta.com - MCM recognised that the recent increase in copper mining activities in the Zambian Copperbelt and potentially in the DRC as well presented an opportunity to process an increased quantity of copper concentrates.  With surplus capacity in the Mufulira refinery and the existing requirement to replace the current electric furnace, MCM approved a project to expand the capacity at Mufulira. This will involve the installation of a new primary smelting furnace utilising Top Submerged Lance (TSL) technology together with a purpose built matte settling furnace, a sulphuric acid plant, an oxygen plant to provide the oxygen requirements to the TSL furnace and the associated infrastructure.   Grinaker-LTA Process Engineering was awarded the contract for the supply of the sulphuric acid plant on an EPC basis, while a joint venture comprising Grinaker-LTA Process Engineering and SNC-Lavalin was awarded the contract to execute the engineering, procurement and construction management of the overall project.

References -
News January 19, 2021 - ZCCM-IH has agreed to take over Glencore’s majority stake in Mopani Copper Mines in a $1.5 billion deal funded by debt, and will look for a new investor, Mines Minister Richard Musukwa has announced.  The sale comes after Glencore last year tried to suspend operations at Mopani due to low copper prices and COVID-19 disruptions, angering the government, which threatened to revoke the company’s mining licenses.  At a ceremony in Lusaka, Mr. Musukwa said the country will try to attract a new investor in Mopani, adding that “several entities” from Britain, Canada, China, Turkey, and Qatar have expressed interest.  Mr. Musukwa said ZCCM-IH needs about $300 million to complete expansion projects started by Glencore.  Mr Musukwa said Mopani’s current production of “over 34,000 tonnes” of copper has increased over the last year adding that the expansion projects will boost output beyond 150,000 tonnes a year.  Mr Musukwa said more than 15,000 workers would have lost their jobs if the mine was closed.  ZCCM-IH Chairman Eric Silwamba said the company would acquire 90% of Mopani from Carlisa Investments Corp, bringing ZCCM-IH full control of the company. ZCCM-IH previously held 10% of Mopani.  Glencore said today that it will receive $1 for the 90% holding it owns with Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd.  There has been speculation on how Zambia would pay for the asset after it became the first African country to default on its debt since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.  After the sale of its 73% stake for an indicative $1 is complete, Glencore will retain offtake rights of Mopani’s copper production until the transaction debt has been repaid in full, the company said.  Glencore said it holds 81.2% of the shares in Carlisa.  First Quantum Minerals, which previously held 16.9% of Mopani, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  Glencore has been in talks with the state about Mopani since last year after the two clashed on the future of the mine, which has been unprofitable for years. Zambia’s state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc already owned 10% of Mopani.  Once the deal is complete, Mopani will owe its previous owners $1.5 billion.  That will be repaid from sales and profits going forward.Glencore today announces that its subsidiary Carlisa Investments Corp. (“Carlisa”), in which Glencore holds 81.2% of the shares, has signed an agreement with ZCCM Investments Holding plc (“ZCCM”) to transfer its 90% interest in Mopani Copper Mines plc (“Mopani”) to ZCCM, the owner of the remaining 10% interest in Mopani, for US$1 and the Transaction Debt (as defined below).  Completion of the sale is conditional on receipt of certain regulatory approvals in Zambia and on the approval of the shareholders and board of directors of ZCCM, and is expected to occur within the next three months.  Mopani has been funded by borrowings from Carlisa and other members of the Glencore group. On completion, US$1.5 billion of debt (the “Transaction Debt”) will remain owed by Mopani to Glencore group creditors on the following terms:a. interest under the Transaction Debt will be capitalised for the first three years after completion, and thereafter will be payable quarterly at LIBOR + 3% (subject to a switch to an equivalent interest rate based on SOFR); andb. principal outstanding under the Transaction Debt will be repayable under a dual mechanism whereby:i. 3% of gross revenue of the Mopani group from 2021-2023 (inclusive), and 10-17.5% of gross revenue of the Mopani group thereafter; andii. 33.3% of EBITDA less tax, changes in working capital, capital expenditure, royalty payments and interest and principal (calculated under the first mechanism) payments in respect of Transaction Debt, is at the end of each quarter required to be paid.Repayment of principal (together with accrued interest) may additionally be required in the event of an occurrence of certain other early prepayment events, including certain change of control events in respect of Mopani.  After completion of the sale, Glencore will retain offtake rights in respect of Mopani’s copper production until the Transaction Debt has been repaid in full.

October 30, 2017
- Glencore on Monday revised its 2017 copper production guidance down 2% to 1.31 million mt (plus/minus 15,000 mt), citing power interruption at Mopani in Zambia and associated reduction in sulfuric acid deliveries to Mutanda in the Congo.  The new target is down 8.1% copper produced last year.  This is the second time this year that Glencore has cut its 2017 output target for copper.  Glencore's total production over January-September 2017 was 946,500 mt of copper, down 10.8% year on year.In the third quarter of this year, output from its African, Australian and South American assets fell 15.2% on the year to 303,600 mt.  In fact, Glencore's quarterly copper production has been falling since Q4 last year when the company sold a 30% interest in the Ernest Henry gold-copper mine in Queensland to Australian gold miner Evolution Mining.  It also cited smelter maintenance at Mount Isa in Queensland and lower grades at Peru's Antapaccay project as reasons for the fall in production.

September 19, 2016
- Toxic fumes from one of Glencore’s copper plants in Zambia caused the death of a politician, the African country’s high court said, in a ruling that could trigger fresh claims against the company.  The London-listed mining and commodities trader was ordered to pay 400,000 Zambian kwacha (£30,000) in damages to the widower of Beatrice Mithi, a politician who died after inhaling sulphur dioxide released by Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines.  The ruling in June means Glencore could face new claims from residents of the Mufulira district, where local people have long complained of health problems allegedly caused by emissions from Mopani’s copper smelter.  Laywers for Glencore contested the claim, citing an environmental indemnity agreement signed with the Zambian government in 2000.  However, a judge in Kabwe, in Zambia’s Copperbelt region, ruled that the agreement did not apply because sulphur dioxide emissions had exceeded legal limits.  “By emitting sulphur dioxide into the environment exceeding statutory limitations [Mopani Copper Mines] breached its duty of care owed to her [Mithi] and the community,” the ruling said.  Mr. Justice Sichinga also dismissed evidence from two doctors, who claimed that asthma, diabetes and heart problems may have caused her death.  The legal battle featured in the Rundschau programme on the SRF TV channel in Switzerland.  A post mortem found that Mithi died from “acute respiratory failure due to inhalation of toxic fumes” at a church service on New Years’ Eve in 2013.  The FTSE 100 firm completed a £300m project in 2014 to build an acid plant to raise the capture of sulphur dioxide from 50% to 97%.  The Switzerland-based commodities and mining giant is appealing against the decision in Zambia’s supreme court.  In a statement, Glencore cited “procedural irregularities” in the ruling, saying the judge did not consider evidence that its defence team submitted.  Glencore said the judge “misinterpreted” defence evidence and disputed any link between emissions at Mopani’ and Mithi’s death.  Traidcraft, which is campaigning for greater legal accountability for companies operating overseas, said: “This is yet another case of an irresponsible company, listed in the UK, causing serious harm through its operations in a developing country.  “The decision of the Zambian high court in this case is welcome, but it’s hard to see how it will have much of a deterrent effect on this or other companies.  “The government have an opportunity right now to deal with this. They are looking at how to prosecute companies for ‘white collar’ crimes but this could be extended to consider other serious corporate crimes, including failure to deal with severe pollution or causing deaths.”  Glencore bought Mopani Copper Mines in 2000, inheriting a longstanding sulphur emissions problem that has fuelled simmering tension with the community.  Anger at emissions erupted in riots in August 2014.  It has previously enjoyed immunity from claims relating to the period between 2000 and 2014 thanks to its environmental liability agreement.

August 17, 2014
- Police in Mufulira on Friday fought running battles with irate Kankoyo  residents who broke into Mopani Copper Mines Acid plant threatening to set it ablaze, alleging a heavy release of sulphur dioxide, commonly known as center.   Residents became incensed after an unconfirmed allegation went round that a pregnant woman, two children and four other people had suffocated after inhaling ‘heavy’ sulphur dioxide emissions that were released by the mine on Friday.  The development angered members of the community who became unruly and pulled down the wire fence securing the acid plant and causing damage to the infrastructure.  The residents nearly set ablaze the modern acid tanks but fire arresters prevented the fire from lighting.  But Mufulira district commissioner Kabwe Chanda who refuted the allegations made by the residents alleged that the irate residents were incited by a named NGO operating within Kankoyo.  “The residents alleged that there were heavy sulphur emissions but I went to Kankoyo myself and did not see anything. I’m aware that three people fainted and were treated and discharged from hospital but that was due to teargas and not sulphur emissions. The permanent secretary is on his way here. After investigations we will issue a comprehensive report,” said Chanda.  Meanwhile, Mopani Copper Mines said the completion of the $500million smelter upgrade project brought to an end an 80-year-old legacy issue that had blighted Mopani and the surrounding communities.  According to Mopani Copper Mine public relations manager Cephas  Sinyangwe, the Acid plant had been performing exceptionally well and had  achieved close to 97 per cent sulphur dioxide capture, in line with international standards.  “On Wednesday some officers from the Zambia Environment Management  Agency visited the plant and were very satisfied with the progress made  to date. Further statements will be issued as appropriate,” stated   Sinyangwe in a press release.

August 3, 2014 - Chancellor George Osborne has been urged to intervene over a secret report by the European Investment Bank into the tax affairs of FTSE 100-listed commodities giant Glencore.  The EIB is refusing to publish the findings about Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary Mopani, despite taking more than two years to compile a report.  Glencore has always denied allegations of tax evasion at Mopani, which it says were based on a flawed and incomplete audit.  But the EIB, which lent £30million to Mopani in 2005 to help resolve sulphur pollution problems, suspended all further lending in 2011 pending a review.  Now the bank says it will not publish the findings, despite a recommendation by the EIB’s own internal complaints team that it should do so.  Campaign group Christian Aid, which submitted an official complaint to the EIB urging transparency, has written to Osborne calling on him to use his position as a member of the bank’s board to change policy.  ‘This is a scandal,’ said the group’s economic justice spokesman Toby Quantrill.  ‘The Bank is covering up a report on a matter of huge public interest both in Europe and in Africa: did a Glencore-controlled company evade tax or not?  ‘It is time that they dragged the Bank into the light, so people can find out more about the projects to which it lends – including whether they pay their taxes.’ In a response to Christian Aid, the EIB’s complaints team ‘expresses its preference to disclose a redacted version of the Fraud Investigations Report’.  But EIB secretary general Alfonso Querejeta said the organisation, which funds projects by raising money with the guarantee of EU states, would not be following the recommendation.  He said the organisation needed to ‘strike the right balance’ between transparency and giving away information about how it conducts investigations.  Glencore denies Mopani artificially reduced a tax bill in Zambia, one of the world’s poorest countries.
  It says the initial allegation, by accountancy firm Grant Thornton, was based on incomplete information.  In a statement on its website, the EIB said Glencore insisted the Zambian tax authorities have completed an audit and are satisfied.  But the EIB added that it ‘has not been able to obtain further details on this matter from the Zambian authorities, Mopani Copper Mines Plc, or parent company Glencore’.  Earlier this year Mopani finally completed work to end sulphur dioxide emissions, which have been blamed for respiratory diseases, soil erosion and other pollution problems.  Christian Aid and other campaign groups say the EIB is changing disclosure rules so it will be less transparent in a ‘lurch towards secrecy’ that will leave the public even more in the dark about projects that involved 75.1billion euros of lending last year. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/

June 21, 2014 - A truck carrying 28,000 litres of sulphuric acid on Thursday overturned in Mufulira and the chemical spilt into a tributary of the Kafue River, raising fear of water contamination. The incident happened at 14:30 hours after the driver of a Gomes Haulage truck registration number ACK 6984 which was ferrying sulphuric acid from Mopani Copper Mine's plant to the Democratic Republic of Congo, failed to negotiate a corner and overturned few metres away from the Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company water treatment plant.  The two tanks on the truck openedand the acid scotched grass and the nearby vegetation.  The acid also produced strong acid mists that affected many motorists, school-going children and people that were in nearby buildings.  Rescue and fire brigade teams from Mopani Copper Mines and Mufulira Municipal Council moved in swiftly to prevent Sulphuric acid from causing further damage by pouring bags of lime in the affected areas.  Water experts from the mine, Mufulira district administration and the water utility, Mulonga Water, were seen taking samples to ascertain the levels of pollution the acid spillage had caused to the water.  Mufulira district commissioner Chanda Kabwe, who rushed to the scene, said all stakeholders had teamed up to prevent further damage to the water, the environment and to also to protect the lives of the people.  "The driver of the truck was speeding and he failed to negotiate the corner on that curve and that's how the truck flipped. That stream flows into Kafue River and our worry was that Kafue River is our source of water because the water utilities pump from that river and there are a lot of other activities such as fishing and farming that is done by people," Kabwe said.  He said the government district administration had done everything possible to ensure that the seepage does not harm people.  "We have gone around the townships in Mufulira with public announcement systems advising people not to take water from taps until further notice. We have also advised everyone to keep children away from the streams and the main Kafue River because it's dangerous in the meantime. We have barricaded these places," Kabwe said.  And Mopani Copper Mines public relations manager Cephas Sinyangwe said the company reacted swiftly and with assistance of the local emergency services contained and neutralised the acid.  "The driver of the contractor truck was not injured and there was no one else involved in the incidence. We continue to work closely with the relevant authorities and the cause of the incident is being investigated," Sinyangwe said.

June 9, 2014 - MOPANI Copper Mines has announced the completion of the US$500 million Mufulira smelter upgrade project, which is expected to stop the sulphur dioxide emissions that have affected the area for over 70 years.  The smelter would be capturing 97 per cent of sulphur dioxide emissions in line with the recommended international standards by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  In a statement released yesterday, Mopani Copper Mines management stated that the smelter had been completed 15 months ahead of schedule.  Mopani Copper Mines chief executive officer, Danny Callow, stated that the smelter was done in three phases to address the legacy issue of sulphur dioxide emissions which were at 100 per cent from 1937 to Glencore's investment in 2000.  Callow stated that Mopani was committed to upgrading the smelter to comply with international standards just after the acquisition of the asset in 2000.  He stated that at the time of acquisition, the Mufulira smelter was emitting 100 per cent of its sulphur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and a decision was made to build a new smelter within the confines of the existing smelter, whilst increasing production and maintaining job stability, which were two key areas of government focus.  "One option we had involved closing the processing plant, which would have enabled us to complete the work earlier but would have resulted in around 900 job losses at the time, with a major impact on the local economy, which is heavily reliant on the operation. The second and more viable option was to keep the plant operational and upgrade the smelter in stages," Callow stated.  Callow described the smelter upgrade project as one of the biggest environmental projects ever undertaken in Zambia.  He stated that the first phase of the project was completed in 2007, which involved replacing the existing electric furnace and construction of an acid plant at a cost of US$ 213m, enabling the capture of emissions of 50 per cent.  Callow stated that in the second phase, two new bigger anode furnaces and twin anode casting wheels were installed at a value of US$81million and were successfully commissioned in 2009.  "With the completion of phases one and two, the smelter capacity improved to about 625,000 tpa concentrate treatment from 420,000 tpa, whilst sulphur capture improved to 51 per cent. In the third and final phase which involved the installation of three larger converters, assorted gas handling equipment and a second acid plant, all costing US$206 million, was completed in March this year, 15 months ahead of schedule agreed with the Zambian government," he stated.  Callow said the completion of the Mufulira smelter upgrade project would result in a greatly improved environment for the local community and Mopani employees.

April 2, 2014 - Glencore has finally finished work to stop toxic sulphur pollution at a Zambian copper mine, after missing an earlier deadline to complete the job.  The group’s Mopani subsidiary will announce within days that it has finished a £300m upgrade to a copper smelter that will ensure 97 per cent of sulphur dioxide gas is captured.  It comes after the Daily Mail revealed how locals’ lives have been blighted by regular gas emissions, causing health problems and soil contamination.  Glencore initially planned to solve the problem by 2015.  But the firm brought the deadline forward to the end of 2013 amid intense pressure from campaign groups.  The company missed the new deadline, but boss Ivan Glasenberg later vowed that efforts to end pollution at Mopani would be finished by the end of March.   Sophie Powell, Africa policy chief at Christian Aid, said ‘it is shameful that it has taken Glencore 14 years to fix the devastating air pollution caused by its mine’.  She added that people in the nearby town of Kankoyo have reported damage to their homes caused by pollution and urged Glencore (up 0.35p to 309.15p) to pay towards rehousing townspeople.

January 27, 2014 - Glencore is facing fresh accusations over its controversial Zambian copper mine, with locals blaming the death of a politician on the commodity giant’s failure to stop sulphur pollution.  Mufulira District Commissioner Beatrice Mithi collapsed and died after inhaling toxic sulphur dioxide emissions from the nearby Mopani Copper Mine, 73 per cent-owned by Glencore.  While Mrs Mithi’s family are understood to have asked that no post-mortem be carried out, many locals feel the firm’s failure to fix the long-standing sulphur emissions problem is responsible.  ‘Everyone believes it was the effect of the sulphur emissions,’ said Charles Mwandila, former town clerk of Mufulira.  ‘It has caused tension between the company and the community and Mopani is doing a lot of publicity to repair this.’   Glencore initially planned to fix the problem by 2015, but brought forward the deadline to the end of 2013 under intense pressure from campaigners.  However, it pushed the deadline back to the first quarter of this year, blaming supply problems beyond the company’s control.  Mrs Mithi’s death has stoked tension in Mufulira, part of Zambia’s mineral-rich ‘copper belt’, over the pace of the Switzerland-based firm’s efforts. Sulphur dioxide emissions from Mopani’s copper smelter have blighted neighbouring communities since the 1930s.  While Glencore has pointed to years of mismanagement in state hands, it has not been able to solve the problem since buying the mine in 2000.  ‘Sophie Powell, Africa policy chief of campaign group Christian Aid, said that while it was not possible to attribute blame for Mrs Mithi’s death, that air pollution is a constant problem for locals.  ‘Mopani is the neighbour from hell,’ she said. ‘The very poor people who live around the mine have endured these problems for years now.’  ‘Investors should put pressure on the company to control the appalling pollution surrounding Mopani.’  A Glencore spokesman said the company had spent around £300million trying to fix the smelter.  ‘This upgrade will bring emissions in line with international standards and greatly reduce the sulphur dioxide emissions that have affected the area for over 70 years, with 97 per cent of emissions to be captured.’ 

January 27, 2014 - MOPANI Copper Mines (MCM) will complete the third and final phase of upgrading its Mufulira Smelter in the first quarter of 2014.  This is to ensure increased capture of sulphur dioxide and reduce emissions that cause harm to the environment surrounding mining activities in the area.  MCM spokesperson Cephas Sinyangwe said in a statement that the company invested over K 2.3 million in upgrading the Mufulira smelter over three phases to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 97 per cent in 2014.  “Mopani has invested over K 2.3 million into the upgrade of the Mufulira smelter to address the legacy issue of sulphur dioxide emissions.  This upgrade will greatly reduce the sulphur dioxide emissions that have affected the area for over 70 years, with 97 per cent of emanation to be captured bringing operations in line with international standards,” he said.  Mr Sinyangwe said the Mufulira smelter was built in 1937 and little had been done to maintain or update its processes to bring them to international standards.  He said when Mopani began to operate this asset in 2000, the company was committed to upgrading the smelter to reduce gas emissions in line with international standards.  “The project was divided into three phases, the first two stages were completed in 2007 and 2009 and involved replacement of the existing electric furnace with Isa Smelter, construction of the first acid plant and installation of new bigger anode furnaces and twin anode casting wheels, resulting into sulphur capture of up to 51 per cent.  The third and final phase is currently underway and is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2014, fifteen months ahead of the deadline and it involves Installation of three larger converters and a second Acid Plant,” Mr Sinyangwe said.  He said other than reducing the levels of sulphur emissions by an average of over 51 per cent so far, the Smelter Upgrade project has generated many additional benefits for local people, with over 400 Zambians working on the project.

January 16, 2014 - Government has urged Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to speed up the upgrading of the smelter at its Mufulira plant to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.  Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Richard Musukwa said MCM and other mining companies should work towards reducing sulphur dioxide emissions  to have a pollution-free environment.  Mr Musukwa said this on Wednesday when he toured the MCM smelter upgrade project in Mufulira.  He was happy that once the project was completed, MCM would be able to reduce air pollution as the new smelter was expected to capture about 98 per cent of the sulphur dioxide emissions.  He said the main purpose of upgrading the smelter in Mufulira was to replace the one which had been operating since 1937, and also to address the issue of emissions.  Mr Musukuwa, who is Wusakile Member of Parliament, said the Government was hopeful that once the upgrade of the smelter was completed, MCM would be able to produce only two per cent of the emissions into the air as required by international standards.  "As Government we value every life and because of this we want to ensure that all projects concerning the reduction of emissions are done and completed in record time.  “This will safeguard the lives of our people and avoid the effects and impacts that emissions can cause on the environment,” Mr Musukwa said.  MCM smelter upgrade project manager John Sakala said the company was committed to ensuring that the project was completed and commissioned by March this year.  Mr Sakala said once the project was completed, the emission of sulphur dioxide would be reduced up to two per cent and end complaints among Mufulira residents.  Earlier, Mr Musukwa said during a tour of the synclinorium shaft project in Wusakile that Government was pleased with the huge levels of investments by MCM.  He said the shaft, when completed, would see the lifespan of the mine increased and that over 3,000 jobs would be created for the local people.  MCM chief engineer Nicholas Lionnet said so far, about 90 per cent of the work in sinking the shaft had been done.  Mr Lionnet said the main aim of sinking the new shaft was to increase the lifespan of the mine for another 30 years.

December 13, 2013 - MOPANI Copper Mines (MCM)’s Mufulira smelter upgrade project at a cost of US$460 million is earmarked for completion by end of first quarter 2014.  The upgrading of the smelter involving installation of three converters and construction of two acid plants executed under a three-phased programme beginning 2004, once completed is expected to bring to an end the problem of sulphur-dioxide emission that has been a thorn issue in the district.  MCM chief operating officer Johan Jansen said once commissioned, the refurbished Mufulira smelter would vent out three per cent of the sulphur dioxide emission into the atmosphere, which was world standard.  Mr Jansen said this when he gave a presentation on MCM operations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs during an interactive meeting dubbed “Non-Governmental Oarganisations forum” with a consortium of Mufulira-based civil society organisations (CSOs) held in Mufulira on Wednesday.  He said the Mufulira smelter at its inception in 1937 when technology was viewed as cutting edge was venting out 100 sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.  “When we took over running of the mine, we committed ourselves to reduce the emission of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere to world standard and to that effect we embarked on a three-phased program in 2004,” he said.  Mr Jansen said following the first and second phase upgrade exercise conducted between 2004-07 and 2007-9 respectively, the smelter plant was now capturing between 50 and 55 per cent sulphur-dioxide emissions.  He said the third-phase of the upgrade project, which under the initial commitment was scheduled to complete by 2015 but had been fast-trucked and was now set to be completed by end of first quarter 2014, 97 per cent of the sulphur-dioxide emission would be captured.  “The problem of sulphur-dioxide will have been addressed because emission of three per cent into the atmosphere is world standard,” he said.  Meanwhile, Mr. Jansen said MCM was investing $12 million into a new skills school for training of artisan engineers.  He said the school to be built with a capacity of 140 students per intake was earmarked for opening in 2014.  And CSOs regional coordinator Edward Lange expressed happiness with MCM for its effort in contributing to improved wellbeing of the communities through its programs in health, education and sport.  Mr. Lange described the interactive meeting as positive as it was aimed at creating a platform of engagement between the mining firm and CSOs in a quest to improve accountability in the mining sector.

November 15, 2013 - Residents of Mufulira's Kankoyo township say they have suffered serious air pollution due to excessive sulphur dioxide emissions discharged from Mopani Copper Mine's smelter.  But Mopani Copper Mines says it is maintaining its plants diligently without exceeding the approved limits as it was currently capturing 50 per cent of the sulphur dioxide emissions.  Many residents of Kankoyo that travelled to Kitwe in minibuses stormed The Post offices and complained that their health was at serious risk as many people including children were suffering from respiratory infections due to massive sulphur dioxide emissions from MCM's Mufulira smelter.  The residents led by Christopher Nkhata, the chairman of a local environmental organisation called Green and Justice, said people had developed health complications and left the town for other safer places due to excessive sulphur dioxide emissions.  Nkhata said the emissions had become unbearable for the people as some of them were even developing sight problems.  "Because of poverty we cannot do anything but come to the media to complain and pray that some authority somewhere will take action. People are collapsing in the streets due to these emissions. We have people that are asthmatic and they have been forced to relocate. The situation is just unbearable; our children are getting strange infections and failing to breathe properly. We need help from Mopani, the government and all authorities involved," Nkhata said.  He said the residents of Kankoyo wanted Mopani to expedite the process of implementing its new smelter that would capture the sulphur dioxide to protect the lives of the people and the environment.  And responding to a press query, MCM head of public relations Cephas Sinyangwe stated that in order to deal with the problem of sulphur dioxide emissions, Mopani had embarked on a phased modernisation of the smelter through the smelter upgrade project.  Sinyangwe said since completion of phase one of the project in 2006, Mopani had been capturing 50 per cent of the sulphur dioxide emissions.  "The Zambian authorities approved this level of emissions, and we are maintaining the plant diligently to enable us to operate without exceeding this limit. At inception in the year 2000, MCM inherited a smelter that had been discharging 100 per cent sulphur emissions into the atmosphere since it was commissioned in 1937. As part of the conditions for the acquisition of the two assets, Nkana and Mufulira operations, Mopani committed itself to addressing this historical environmental liability over a period of 15 years up to June 2015," Sinyangwe stated.
He stated that the final phase of the smelter upgrade project would be completed by June 2015.  Sinyangwe said due to the importance that Mopani attached to environmental protection and human safety, the company had brought forward the deadline for completion of the project by more than a year.  "We are currently undertaking the third and final phase of the project which would lead to 97 per cent sulphur capture in a few months, which is within internationally acceptable standards," he stated.  He said Mopani proved its commitment to a clean and safe environment by investing approximately US$450 million to put to an end the historical problem of sulphur dioxide emissions.

October 17, 2013 - Mufilira District Commissioner (DC) Beatrice Mithi on Tuesday collapsed after inhaling sulphur-dioxide emission from the mines.  Ms Mithi, who is asthmatic, fainted and was rushed to the hospital where she was admitted and put on oxygen until yesterday when she was discharged.  The DC confirmed the incidence in an interview yesterday shortly after being discharged.  Ms Mithi said she was returning from officiating at a function at Ronald Ross Hospital when sulphur-dioxide emissions were dischared from the mine.  “I got choked by the sulphur-dioxide emission and I immediately collapsed,” she said.  Ms Mithi said she was quickly rushed to the hospital where she was admitted and put on oxygen until yesterday.  “It appears the type of sulphur-dioxide Mopani is discharging at the moment is highly toxic because the case involving myself is the second one after another person who is asthmatic was also affected last week,” Ms Mithi said.

September 9, 2013 - Construction of the second US$160 million acid plant at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Kitwe, is progressing well and at least 60 per cent of the works has been completed.  MCM head of public relations Cephas Sinyangwe said in response to a press query that, work on the second acid plant was on schedule and that the works on the project were part of a three-phase smelter upgrade programme being undertaken by MCM at a cost of S$ 450 million.  The MCM three-phase smelter upgrade project, which was approved by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) in 2004, was expected to be completed before 2015, a target agreed upon with Government.  Phase one of the upgrade project was undertaken between 2004 and 2006 and involved the replacement of the existing Electric furnace with the Isa smelter as well as, construction of the first acid plant at a cost of $ 213 million, which reduced sulphur emissions to the atmosphere by 50 per cent.  In phase two, which took place between 2007 and 2009, two new bigger anode furnaces and twin anode casting wheels were installed at a cost of $81million, improving sulphur capture to 51 per cent.  “Phase three, which began in 2010, 18 months earlier than initially agreed, involves installation of three larger (15’x35’) converters and associated gas handling equipment.”  “Over 60 per cent of works have been done on the second acid plant and once completed, sulphur dioxide capture will increase from 51 per cent to 97 per cent,” Mr Sinyangwe said.  The MCM smelter upgrade project has created 400 jobs for the local people.

August 20, 2013 - Government has urged Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to address the emissions of sulphur dioxide affecting the residents of Mufulira.  Mines, Energy and Water Development Minster Christopher Yaluma said MCM, through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to assist the people of Kankoyo area to repair the damage caused on infrastructure and environment through gas emissions.  Mr Yaluma said after a conducted tour of MCM plant in Mufulira at the weekend. He said MCM should find ways of addressing the issues affecting the people of Kankoyo who had been seriously affected with the emissions of sulphur dioxide.  “We would like to see life brought back in Kankoyo and so as part of CSR of Mopani, the company should do more and help the residents with the rehabilitation of infrastructure development.  “Right now I know Mopani has provided the residents with piped water but we need to see more to assist our people in having a better life,” he said.  Mr Yaluma further commended MCM for the good works that it was doing in ensuring that it provided high safety standards to its employees.  He urged other mining companies in Zambia to emulate MCM investment in order to lift up the Zambian economy.  Mr Yaluma said MCM’s target for reducing sulphur dioxide by 97 percent by December this year once the plant was fully constructed was a welcome move.  He urged other mining companies to emulate MCM so as to increase the production rate.  And MCM chief processing officer Narain Goyal said the new acid plant would be completed by December this year.  Mr Goyal said once the plant is completed, only three percent of sulphur dioxide would remain and described it as a world class standard.

August 19, 2013 - Mopani Copper Mines will next year commission an Acid Plant that is expected to reduce emissions of Sulphur dioxide from the mines in Mufulira.  Sulphur dioxide emissions have for a long time polluted KANKOYO and surrounding Townships in Mufulira.  Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma who toured the plant called on Mopani Copper Mines to consider compensating the people of Kankoyo in Mufulira whose property has been damaged by pollution.  Mr. Yaluma says besides constructing a plant to capture emissions from the mining plant, MOPANI must go a step further and compensate the affected people.  And Mopani Chief Processing Officer Narian Goyal says the plant which is being built at a cost of 1-hundred and 91 million United States Dollars will reduce pollution levels by 97 percent.

March 12, 2012 - U.K.-listed Glencore International AG has secured equipment to convert sulphur dioxide emissions produced at its Mufulira copper division and aid its plans to make acid for use at its operations, a senior official at the Zambian operation said Monday.  The acquisition of the converter is part of the miner's ongoing $114 million investment into the unit to allow it to manufacture acid, Mopani chief executive Danny Callow said in a statement seen by Dow Jones Newswires.  Copper miners using the solvent extraction electro-winning process require between three and 3.5 tons of sulphuric acid to turn ore into one ton of copper metal.  Mopani is also seeking to capture at least 97% of the emissions from the smelter before they are released into the atmosphere. Mopani presently captures more than 55% of the emissions.  According to Callow's statement, Mopani anticipates completing the smelter improvements by 2013, ahead of the previously anticipated 2015.  It is planned that the smelter improvements will enable Mopani to capture gases from the converters and anode furnaces, once the furnace has been upgraded.  Additionally, Mopani anticipates that the sulphuric acid produced at the mine will supply Mopani's Mufulira West mine leaching project, expected to consume about 400 tons to 550 tons of acid a day, according to company data.  Mopani copper mine is an integrated copper and cobalt producer. Its operations consist of four underground mines, a concentrator and a cobalt plant in the town of Kitwe and an underground mine, concentrator, smelter and refinery in the town of Mufulira.  The capacity of the Mufulira copper smelter is being expanded in a phased approach to 870,000 tons of concentrate by the end of 2010. The current capacity with the new Isa smelt furnace is 650,000 tons of concentrate.

January 15, 2012 - Glencore is facing legal action over pollution caused by its vast and lucrative copper operations in Zambia.  Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines subsidiary has been a thorn in the firm’s side since its £6billion float in May last year, throwing up allegations of environmental recklessness and tax avoidance, which the company denies.  The Swiss-based firm could find itself dragged through the courts after Zambian campaign group the Centre for Trade Policy and Development demanded the company explain itself or face a lawsuit.  In a letter obtained by the Daily Mail, lawyers for CTPD claim that the ‘leaching’ process used in copper production is causing sulphuric acid to leak into water used by communities living and working near the mine.  CTPD cites two incidents in 2008 and 2011 when residents reported ill effects due to suspected acid in drinking water. The letter warns that Glencore’s ‘mining methods are not consistent with the right to a safe and healthy environment and likely to threaten that right’.  A further complaint relates to the high level of sulphur in the air, which CTPD says has caused respiratory and skin problems.  The Mail witnessed the choking, foul - smelling clouds during a recent visit to the Zambian copperbelt.  CTPD said it would launch legal action in Zambia – or even in London – unless its demands are met. The group wants Mopani to discontinue mining methods that contaminate or pollute the air and submit the mining to an ‘environmental audit’.  It has also asked Mopani to compensate for harm to health and the environment.  Glencore has previously insisted that it is not responsible for the provision of water in the area and points to its use of water testing.  It also says that to close the copper smelter would put thousands out of work.

November 23, 2011 - Zambia's Mopani Copper Mines owned by Glencore International Plc expects to complete work to capture sulphur dioxide emissions at its Mufulira smelter by 2013, it said on Wednesday.  "This is 18 months ahead of the Zambian government's target of 2015," Mopani said in a statement.  On completion of the final phase of the project, around 97 percent of all sulphur dioxide emissions at Mufulira would be captured, it said.  The final phase of the work, already underway, is to install gas capturing equipment and a second acid plant to recycle captured sulphur dioxide as sulphuric acid, the company said.  The new equipment is being installed as each phase of the plant is completed and this has enabled operations to continue without any shutdown, Mopani said.

August 15, 2011 - Zambian copper miner Mopani has invested a further $80-million in gas-capture equipment and a second sulphuric acid plant aimed at capturing some 97% of sulphur dioxide by 2015.  CEO Emmanuel Mutati said on Monday the company was moving into the last phase of work, meeting the commitments agreed with the Zambian government.  The sulphur-capture equipment is being installed as part of a general modernisation of the smelting complex, with new emissions capture equipment installed as each phase of the plant renewal is completed.  The sulphur-capture equipment installed to date currently captures about 50 % of all sulphur dioxide emissions from the smelting complex.  This equipment, the first at Mopani since the facility was first constructed in the 1930s, was installed together with the new ISA smelter and matte settling furnace.  “The redevelopment of Mopani has been one of the toughest engineering challenges ever tackled in Zambia, but we have made great progress towards our goal of creating a world-class operation.  "We have increased production, secured employment, and significantly reduced sulphur dioxide emissions that had been ongoing for decades before privatization,” said Mutati.  Mopani is owned by Carlisa Investments Corporation, in which Glencore International owns a 73.1% stake and First Quantum Minerals and the Zambian government minority interests.

July 19, 2011 - Zambia's second largest copper and cobalt miner, Mopani Copper Mines, is to start upgrading its ageing Mufulira copper smelter this month following the importation of machinery required for the project, company officials said Tuesday.  A $26 million converter, meant for upgrades to enable the smelter to reduce sulfur emissions, arrived in Zambia over the weekend and its installation is expected to commence next week, a company official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from the Copperbelt province.   Mopani, a unit of commodity trader Glencore International PLC (GLEN.LN), is installing the new converter as part of its goal to reduce sulfur emissions by 97% in the next four years. The installation is expected to be completed in December. Mopani is also set to install an acid plant at the smelter.  "The arrival of the converter will allow us to proceed with major infrastructure developments which will reduce sulfur emissions at the Mufulira smelter," Mopani Chief Executive Emmanuel Mutati said in a statement.  Mufulira treats concentrates from Mopani Copper Mines units as well as from First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s (FM.T) Kansanshi Copper Mines in Zambia's North Western province. First Quantum owns a minority stake in Mopani.  Earlier this year Mopani said that it would invest at least $295 million in a new mine shaft at its Nkana division which will extend the lifespan of the mine by 25 years.  Currently, Mopani has the capacity to produce 200,000 tons of copper a year.  Zambia, Africa's largest copper miner by output, is facing a looming shortage of copper treatment facilities as production increases.


June 24, 2011 - Glencore AG International, a Swiss based global leading commodity trader secured USD 26 million for installation of its first convertor to offset the emission of sculpture dioxide fumes into the atmosphere at one of its operations in Zambia.  The convertor shell equipment which has arrived in Zambia and procured by Glencore AG from Richards Bay in South Africa is destined for Mufulira mine in northern Zambia’s copperbelt region, a unit of Mopani Copper Mine and is expected to take 25 days to arrive.   In a statement by company spokesperson, transportation of the 132 tonne converter will take approximately 25 days at a cost of around USD 3m and will take about six months to install and the miner expects it to be fully commissioned by

December 2011.  Other accessories include a Water Cooled Hood and an Off Gas System to facilitate the capture of dust free gas. This process will be assisted subsequently by a second new dedicated gas cooling, cleaning and acid plant which will be operational by April 2015.  The USD 26 million converters was manufactured by Mukand Limited of Thane, Maharashtra state, India while the Water Cooled Hood and Off Gas System have been designed, and are being supplied, by the Swedish firm Outotec. Additional engineering work has been carried out by Worley Parsons.  Before Mopani was privatized in 2000, no sulphur was captured. Sulphur capture now stands at about 50% and Mopani’s emissions reduction program will be completed by 2015 when 97% of all sulphur will be captured.  Earlier Mr Emmanuel Mutati CEO of Mopani Copper Mine said that more than USD 290 million was expected to be invested in the emission-capturing program and make the company environmentally compliant. In reference to the recent action by one of its key lenders, European Investment Fund over failure on tax compliance the action to withhold funding to Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia will not affect its operations.  While the lender had every right to withhold funding on unverified reports of under valuing tax remittance to Zambia Revenue Authority and poor records of copper receipts, the company would still operate normally while allowing the banker to carry out its own investigations into the matter, described as flawed and incorrect. We will not be affected at all, our operations will remain normal despite that action.  According to data, despite the action by EIB, Mopani, through its parent company plans to invest an initial USD 250 million in mitigating atmospheric pollution with sulphur dioxide and general environmental cleanliness with an additional USD 60 million expected to be ploughed in to the project later.  An additional investment earmarked for the mine is a new shaft complex at a cost in excess of US$300 million securing the long term future of the operations, this at a time when the private investors are yet to draw a cent of dividends. Recently the EIB slapped a blanket ban on funding of all projects to Mopani copper mine through its parent company Glencore AG for alleged tax evasion and under declaration of copper production in Zambia.  The EIhad provided Mopani with USD 50 million loan in 2005 to help fund renovation of the Mufulira copper smelter. The loan is due to be fully repaid by the end of 2016. The USD 50 million loan is the only one given to a Glencore entity and was used to partially fund the first phase of the renovation and modernization of the copper smelter at Mufulira mine in northern Zambia to reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide.  According to the EIB, total project costs were USD 130 million with the remaining USD 80 million financed from Glencore's own funds. In 2005, the European Investment Bank signed a finance contract with Mopani Copper Mines, a subsidiary of Glencore, for the amount of USD 50 million to partially fund the first phase of the renovation and modernization of the Mufulira copper smelter, with the aim of reducing the emissions of sulphur dioxide.  A further and final reduction of SO2 and dust emissions was planned for latest 2015, when Mopani Copper Mines would have completed the construction of the second acid plant without co-financing by the lender with a view that the efforts would render the smelter compliant with local and World Bank emission regulations.  The Mufulira smelter was first built in 1937. Prior to privatization in 2000, 100 percent of all SO2 went into the atmosphere. So far the situation has improved since, including notably through the investment financed by EIB's loan to Mopani copper mine for modernization of the copper smelter.  The lender said that the project has successfully established the capacity to eliminate 250,000 tonnes of SO2 a year, materially contributing to the protection of the environment.

December 23, 2010 - One of Zambia's mining firms said that it has managed to reduce its sulphur-dioxide emissions by 55% to mitigate the environmental degradation in some residential areas near the mine, the Zambia Daily Mail reported that mining companies in the southern African nation's Copperbelt province have been accused of polluting the surrounding areas, including rivers due to their poor environment management practices.  Last month, a local court fined one of the mining firms after it was found guilty of discharging toxics into a river which was a source of water supply for locals.  Some environmental activists were concerned about the high levels of sulphur dioxide emissions in some townships of Mufulira district from the mining firms.  But environment watchdog, the Environmental Council of Zambia said that Mopani Copper Mines had managed to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 55% from 100% it used to emit into the air.  ECZ northern region manager Patson Zulu was quoted as saying that "The discharge of sulphur dioxide emission into the atmosphere by MCM in Mufulira has reduced by 55%. The mining company has installed an acid plant which is able to capture 55 percent of the gas. This is an achievement in terms of mitigating environmental degradation.”  According to investigations, the townships near the mine had not vegetation because the soil contains high levels of sulphur dioxide while houses had cracks due to mining activities.  Zambia was Africa's top copper producer and the mining industry was responsible for 70% of the country's foreign exchange earnings.  The Zambian government has told the mining firms to play an active law to protect the environment by putting in place effective management policies. Foreign mining companies operating in Zambia include London listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Equinox Minerals, Glencore International AG of Switzerland and Metorex of South Africa, Non-Ferrous Metals of China.

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

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