It is the dawn of a new era for the residents of Tsumeb as the recent commissioning of the Tsumeb acid plant, which was recently upgraded to a world-class facility, has started to yield positive results.
Foreman Pieter Dreyer said the operations at the N$2.7 billion dollar plant are going very well, and that the plant has reached production of up to 590 tonnes of acid per day, amouting to 11 000 tonnes per month.
New Era visited the plant at the Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb smelter to view operations that have been underway since April.
“There were a few slight hiccups in the trial run, but everything is going smoothly,” said Dreyer.
He noted that sulphur dioxide emissions from the plant were previously released into the air, which had posed a health risk for the community. But now the emmisions are being converted into acid that is sold off to mines such as Rössing Uranium and Tchudi north of Tsumeb.
The emissions result from copper processing at the smelter.
The acid is used for heap-leaching, among others. “All the gasses are captured, and through cooling and heating processes acid is produced and stored, and thereafter transported to the mines that buy it, earning additional revenue for the company,” he said.
The acid is transported by train to Rössing and by truck to Tchudi mine.
Asked about the safety policies in place at the smelter to protect workers, Dreyer said the safety control measures are an important priority and measures have been implemented as precautionaries for any problems that may arise, while employees are on duty.
“Safety is our number one priority at the plant, which is mainly automated. So it’s run from a control room, and problems are picked up at a very early stage,” he explained further.