An acid plant similar to this installation is in the first stages of construction at Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb. The contractor is Finnish company Outotec. Completion of the project is slated for late in 2014 when the first sulphuric acid will be supplied to uranium mines in the Erongo region.
Dundee Precious Metals Inc, the owner of Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb announced earlier in October the estimated project cost for its acid plant under construction, has risen by 14% compared to the initial estimate. Despite the slight cost setback, the Canadian extraction company said the project is progressing well. “The project is progressing well. Engineering work is 60% complete, and all long-lead items have been purchased. The earthworks component of construction is also finished.
At this stage, the total capital cost to complete the acid plant currently under construction, including owner’s costs, is estimated at N$2.4 billion, up from the initial estimate of N$2.1 billion” the company said in a statement dated 10 October and first quoted by www.marketwatch.com. Explaining their strategy to get the troubled smelter to an acceptable operational level, Dundee said “as part of its long term strategy to bring the Tsumeb smelter to internationally accepted environmental standards and consistent with directives issued by the Namibian Government, Dundee Precious Metals Inc. entered into a contract with the Finnish firm Outotec for the engineering, supply, construction and commissioning of a facility to treat smelter off-gases and produce sulphuric acid. The increase in project cost is primarily attributable to higher than expected costs associated with site preparation including demolition, earthworks excavation, foundation preparation, larger construction camp infrastructure and related operating costs, as well as unanticipated expenses relating to the removal of asbestos encountered during demolition, and a stronger Euro. None of these issues have put the project schedule at risk and it remains on track for commercial operations and acid deliveries to commence in the fourth quarter of 2014, as agreed with the Namibian Government. “The installation of the acid plant is expected to complete our major environmental upgrades at the smelter and our obligations to the government, thereby minimizing the environmental and political risks to the smelter,” said Rick Howes, President and CEO. “In addition, the key aspects of the plant upgrades which address smelter fugitive emissions are complete and the second oxygen plant, which allows for increased, cleaner production, is expected to be producing oxygen by the end of October.
We expect that the government will then be in a position to confirm compliance with its directive and workplace air quality standards and support a return to full production.” Construction of the acid plant started on 05 September when two ministers broke the ground for this new industrial facility. The plant will produce sulphuric acid captured from smelter waste and sold to uranium mines in the Erongo Region.