Dundee Invests N$3 Billion to Reduce Sulphuric Acid Emissions

Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb has welcomed the release of the recent government medical report which independently assessed the health of more than 1 700 past and present smelter workers.

Dundee has invested over N$3 billion in modern arsenic-handling facilities and in a sulphuric acid (SO2) manufacturing plant to reduce SO2 emissions.

Dundee has worked with the government and the health assessment team since the survey was announced in 2011.

“We are committed to implementing the recommendations of the report to further minimise health impacts on our workers and the community,” said Hans Nolte, the general manager at Dundee. The company acquired the smelter in 2010.

“There are no cases of cancer attributable to arsenic exposure or any other employment-related exposure at the smelter. This is contrary to some media reports which have misquoted the report,” he said.

Nolte said besides skin rashes being potentially linked in some cases to individual arsenic exposure sensitivity, the survey found no other potential arsenic-related occupational health problems such as lung, liver, blood, or other occupational diseases.

“There are incidences of occupationally induced skin rashes. Dundee has medical and operational protocols in place to deal with skin rashes whether caused by arsenic exposure or the use of personal protective equipment in hot and humid conditions,” he said.

Nolte said there are a number of long-term employees or ex-employees with hearing loss which may be occupational. In cases where this hearing loss is confirmed by independent tests to be linked to the smelter, employees will be assessed for compensation under Dundee’s government- and union-mandated policies, he said.

Health problems unrelated to occupational exposure were reported among the surveyed employees, he said.

“Dundee believes that the health impact of the smelter is low and is declining continually and significantly,” he said.

Source : The Namibian