First response drill to ensure safe transport of sulphuric acid

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Windhoek

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.

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