Tsumeb smelter gets greener
Environmental Commissioner, Theo Nghitila said, “We are satisfied that the company is complying well with the Cabinet directives and that they are working in a positive, collaborative spirit to further improve environmental and health conditions at the smelter. Naturally there is still much to be done and independent confirmation monitoring which we need to undertake, but we are confident that the positive trajectory of change at the smelter will continue.”
Hans Nolte, vice president and general manager of the Tsumeb Smelter, said “We remain committed, both locally and through our mother company Dundee Precious Metals Inc., to get the Tsumeb Smelter up to world-class environmental and health standards,” He said. “To this end we are investing significant financial and human capital into both the smelter and the local economy. We want a smelter that the people of Tsumeb, our most important stakeholders, can be proud of.
“One of the most important upgrades, which will reduce emissions by more than 90% is the sulphuric acid plant,” he added. “This project is well on track and has passed an important milestone recently: the approval of its environmental scoping report.”
A full-time health, safety and environmental (HSE) manager and an occupational hygienist have been appointed. A medical review of nearly 1,600 current and past smelter workers has been completed and a report is due out in the next few months. There has been a steady, significant decline in measured exposures from processed arsenic trioxide during the period 2011 to date.
Brent Johnson, manager of sustainable development at the smelter, said “Part of the problem historically (pre-Dundee) has been that we simply haven’t known conclusively what our impacts have been. Now, through independently verified environmental monitoring, we know that our impacts on the town and surrounding areas in terms of, for instance, arsenic emissions, are well within international guidelines and as such present a negligible risk to inhabitants.”