Dundee Precious Metals

By Prime Focus reporter
May 2014
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Namibia’s premier copper manufacturer

Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb owns and operates the Tsumeb Smelter, the only facility of its kind in Namibia and one of only a handful of copper-processing companies in the world that can smelt complex metal concentrates, especially those bearing high volumes of arsenic. The Tsumeb Smelter is unique in this respect, and therefore a value-added asset for Namibia’s mining and manufacturing sectors.

 

Both blister copper (98.5% Cu) and arsenic trioxide (As2O3) are produced at the smelter. The blister copper is delivered to refineries in Europe for final processing, and the As2O3 is sold to third parties. The smelter is capable of processing 270,000-340,000 tons of metal concentrate per annum.

 

The smelter features a primary smelting furnace (Ausmelt), three Peirce-Smith converters and two oxygen plants, as well as dust-capturing baghouses, high-tech gas-cleaning and fume-extraction systems, state-of-the-art environmental monitoring equipment, a pneumatically operated arsenic plant, a slag-treatment mill and an international-standard hazardous waste storage site. At present, a N$2.3 billion plant designed to convert sulphur dioxide into commercial sulphuric acid for sale to Namibia’s uranium industry is in the early stages of construction. On the horizon is the installation of a modern, multimillion-dollar electric holding furnace that will enhance production output and place the Tsumeb Smelter square on the threshold of becoming a global competitor.

 

Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb is a subsidiary of Dundee Precious Metals Inc. of Toronto, Canada. It employs more than 800 people, including contractors.

 

A forward-thinking company

Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb has taken a significant step forward for environmental responsibility that has no precedent in Namibia. Five state-of-the-art monitoring stations have been installed by the company to measure emissions not only at the Tsumeb Smelter, but also ”beyond the fence line”in the greater Tsumeb community.

 

The cost of the stations alone – N$5 million – demonstrates the company’s commitment to find pragmatic solutions and practices to environmental problems. The strategically placed monitoring stations are the first of their kind in Africa to measure arsenic trioxide levels. Plus they meet, and in some cases exceed, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommendations.

 

The units provide real-time, publicly accessible data about arsenic dust and other airborne particulates, as well as sulphur dioxide emissions, and give important information to company management to ensure the smelter continues daily to operate in a responsible manner.

 

Looking to the future, Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb is also researching new and innovative ways to manage its arsenic waste products to minimize potential impacts on the environment and the human population. Currently, hazardous dust from smelting is stored in a licensed, appropriately engineered repository within the smelter complex.

 

Dundee management wants to go beyond legislative compliance by investigating ways to convert the waste dust into more benign forms and possibly even extract residual metal value from it in the process. For this exciting work, Dundee Tsumeb is partnering with scientists and metallurgists both locally and in Canada.

 

Reaching out

In a recent NaMedia report, Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb was listed eighth among Namibia’s Best Communicating CEO Brands of 2013.PF