Dundee sets new sulphuric acid target

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Obrein Simasiku

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.

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