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Tsumeb smelter’s in-house laboratory makes own sanitiser following WHO formula

Tsumeb smelter’s in-house laboratory makes own sanitiser following WHO formula

The copper smelter in Tsumeb operated by Dundee Precious Metals, is using its extensive command of chemistry to produce hand sanitiser conforming to standards set by the World Health Organisation.

Prepared under the care of Dundee’s Senior Chemist: Quality Systems, Herbicious Tiyeho, it meets the specifications set by The World Health Organization which require an alcohol content above 60% to kill microbes (viruses and bacteria) effectively. Hand sanitizers with alcohol content below 60% will not work, according to the Dundee scientist.

Tiyeho said they realised there is a need to produce sanitiser when their in-house demand suddenly spiked as a result of preventative measures. Dundee employs about 700 people at its Tsumeb smelter.

“By producing our own hand-sanitizer we can ensure employees will have it when they might not otherwise and free up more of the available commercial sanitizer supply so it can be directed to hospitals, senior homes and healthcare providers. “This is an example of what the world needs right now and is further proof that in these uncertain times, the more we can work together to help those affected by COVID-19 the better it will be for us all”, he stated.

Keen to share their knowledge, Tiyeho said the sanitiser is based on 75% surgical alcohol like Propanol or Iso-propyl (99.8% purity) mixed with 4% hydrogen peroxide (3% strength), 1% Glycerol (98%) and 20% distilled water.

Tiyeho urged employees and members of the community to be cautious when purchasing hand sanitisers online from third party sellers. “If someone is callous enough to try to make a profit off a pandemic, they might be callous enough to cut hand sanitizer with all sorts of chemicals.


Caption: Herbicious Tiyeho (seated), Senior Chemist: Quality Systems at Dundee Precious Metals, with colleagues Patemasella Gawanas (left), the laboratory’s graduate chemist, and Penoshinge Haitota, the chemist for Quality Control and Quality Assurance.


 

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.