The copper processing company in Tsumeb, formerly known as Namibian Custom Smelters (NCS) and now Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (DPMT), is currently under re-construction to ensure employee safety, environmental protection and land rehabilitation.
Last week, the company revealed plans to improve its facilities about three years after acquiring the smelter from Weatherly in 2010.
DPM has since its acquisition invested N$760m to improve worker safety and environmental protection.
This includes emission-reduction projects, new dust-collection facilities and equipment as well as a state-of-the-art dust disposal facility.
Groundbreaking work for an N$2,3b acid plant which will eliminate sulphur dioxide emission in the Tsumeb community is expected to commence in the next two months.
Hans Nolte, DPMT vice president and general manager said Dundee has demonstrated a renewed commitment to employee safety, environmental protection and land rehabilitation.
“As a long-time resident of Tsumeb and someone who worked for previous smelter owners, Dundee has brought significant improvements to both the smelter and the community,” Nolte says.
Through the Tsumeb Community Trust, DPMT works in collaboration with community leaders and local stakeholders to support infrastructure improvement and business development projects.
Since the inception of the trust in 2010, the company’s investment in the trust has been more than N$3m.
“We at Dundee are impressed with the dedication and quality of our Namibian management team and employees. The smelter still has progress to make but we are on track toward improving the overall business culture while creating, at the same time, a world-class operation,” said Adrian Goldstone, DPMT executive vice president for sustainable development.
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), the company supports activities such as the Tsumeb Annual Copper Festival, national flood relief, neighbourhood watch programme and a cheetah research initiative.
In 2010, DPMT took on a multi-million-dollar project to upgrade production plants and improve health, safety and environmental systems at the smelter.
The project, which is now in its second phase, involves the completion of a dust storage facility, erection of a new bag-house for the smelt furnaces installation of modern gas-handling systems, improvements to the arsenic plant and commissioning of the second oxygen plant among others.
DPMT is looking to construct a fully-automated environmental friendly electric holding furnace to replace the existing and outdated reverberatory furnace in the future.
DPM’s strategy is to reduce costs to make operations economically viable and ensure long-term sustainability as well as to capitalise on the smelter’s unique capability to process complex concentrates.
Last year, the Namibian Government and the United Nations (UN) conducted an audit of the company’s operations which mirrored DPM’s conclusions about the investments required to bring the smelter to international standards.
The company which employs approximately 1300 workers including contractors has a contract with a catering business which supplies employees with food on a daily basis.
DPMT also started a housing project in collaboration with National Housing Enterprise (NHE) to enable its low income employees to buy houses.
In addition, the company now employs health practitioners such as an occupational hygienist and a wellness nurse who man the site clinic.
There are plans to engage a respirator maintenance company to clean the equipment daily.
The employees are also provided with clean uniforms every day to reduce contamination.
For the purpose of developing the town and its people, DPMT has an agreement with the Tsumeb Municipality to source less skilled labourers based in Tsumeb to work as contractors.