Custom Smelters heeds safety and enviro call
A Namibian copper processing company late last week announced that it has taken a serious stand on improving employee safety, while it will also strive towards protecting the environment.
The former Namibia Custom Smelters are now donning a new blazer after it pledged that their N$760 million investment in its plant is aimed to make the mine safer and to care for the environment.
The company came under heavy attack after arsenic copper caused severe burns on some of its employees in 2011 and that situation has since not repeated itself, instead the company took a decisive step to up its measures to protect the environment and consider safety first.
While at it, the company also decided to change its name for the better and will now be known as the Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb.
On Thursday, they promised the Namibians and most importantly their employees that an investment has been made for the purpose of emission-reduction projects, new dust-collection facilities and equipment, and a state-of-the-art dust disposal facility.
They will also improve the basic conditions such as food provision through a dedicated facility, better protective gear and other clothing and they will also look at constructing a fully automated, environmental friendly electric holding furnace.
They say that will replace the existing but outdated reverberatory furnace in the future.
Basically, their strategy is to reduce costs to make operations for economically viable and ensure long-term sustainability.
That means the company has also headed the call by Government to improve the state of the entire copper processing facility, while at the same time, minimize on the expenditure.
But what does this mean for other major mining giants that have similar processing plants?
The copper processor could have some of the dangerous chemicals that could pose a threat to its employees, but other mining companies can also not be left unchallenged.
The regular improvement of working conditions and safety of employees on site and to care for the environment must not be a compromise.
Therefore, other companies that might be culprits but whose dirt has not come out in the open, should be pressured to also improve conditions.
Not that laws are defied or there is no compliance, but the consistent awareness and the upgrade of facilities to maximize on an ever-safer and enviro friendly workplace is advisable.
Safety, health and environmental issues are core to any company in especially the mining, oil and gas fields and others, but regular inspection could save lives and the environment.
In addition, Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb showed that they also care about the community of the town.
They said that its N$2,3 billion acid plant will within the next two months eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions.
That should have been their priority even before the actual production, but still is a move in the right direction for the future.