N$3bn acid plant completed

July 2, 2015, 8:29am

N$3bn acid plant completed

The construction of the N$3 billion gas-cleaning and sulphuric acid plant at Dundee Precious Metals’ (DPM) copper smelter in Tsumeb has finally been completed, despite the slight costs setback.
DPM spokesperson Alina Garises confirmed to The Villager this week that the construction of the acid plant has been completed, and the plant is currently being hot-commissioned.
“No delays currently. The plant was hot- commissioned last week, as per schedule. Commissioning is taking place as we speak,” she enthused.
The acid produced at the plant will be sold to Rossing Uranium and Weatherly’s Tschudi mine.
Garises added that if both Rossing and Tschudi are unable to take all its production, “we will seek other Namibian base clients. Under special conditions, we may consider assisting smaller users, if so required”.
She further noted that under the current conditions, it is unlikely that DPM will generate profits (positive revenue) from the plant.
“The intention of the plant is only to improve environmental conditions, and remove the sulphur dioxide from the atmosphere. It is a clear example of our commitment to the community and environmental responsibility,” she said.
DPM’s completion and commissioning is on target as per its construction update, which stated that the commissioning will take place around this time.
DPM said in earlier media reports that the plant will be capable of producing between 270,000 to 340,000 tons of acid annually.
This is the largest single construction project in the history of Namibian mining, and is expected to be the first acid-producing plant of its kind in the country. It will likewise be a chief environmental improvement for the community of Tsumeb and the wider Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa regions.
The acid plant is a large and multi-faceted project, which is the first plant of its kind which will largely solve the problem of sulphur dioxide (S02) emissions which have beleaguered Tsumeb and the surrounding areas for many years before DPM attained the smelter some five years ago.
The fitting of the acid plant is anticipated to complete the region’s main environmental upgrades at the smelter and DPM’ obligations to Government, thus lessening the environmental and political risks to the smelter.
DPM completed the acquisition of Namibia Customs Smelters in 2010, a smelter which was built in the early 1960s’ to process concentrate from the Tsumeb copper mine.
An international Finnish engineering firm known as Outotec was hired to build the high-tech facility.
Outotec is the global leader in sulphuric acid plant design and delivery, and is responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of the project.

by Charmaine Ngatjiheue