Commissioning of acid plant begins

Engineering firm Outotec completed construction of the state-of-the-art N$2.7 billion high-tech Sulphuric Acid plant.

The commissioning of the innovative N$2.7 billion high-tech Sulphuric Acid plant started in early August and 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 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.
“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. The government and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb have been working in partnership to expedite the construction and operation of this facility 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,” he added. “Aside from adding tremendous value to our operations, this undertaking will give the Namibian economy a discernible boost as well,” Nolte explained. Nolte pointed out that the multi-faceted project is adding innovative value to the Namibian mining and processing scene and will also secure eighteen full-time employment to 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 240,000-310,000 tons of copper concentrate yearly, the acid plant will produce approximately 270,000-340,000 tons of sulphuric acid per annum.