In 2015, we initiated studies on the potential impact of previous and current smelter activities. These studies are ongoing and aim to identify suitable mitigation measures and devise an appropriate rehabilitation plan, including a water balance model, groundwater model, contaminated land assessment, groundwater monitoring protocol, legacy waste identification and surface water monitoring protocol.

We have also created a nursery to grow indigenous trees to assist with soil remediation and dust suppression.

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on proposed Tsumeb Smelter Expansion and Optimisation Project

Smelter Expansion and Optimisation Project, selected as the preferred option through a pre-feasibility study process, aims to increase production capacity from 240 000 to 370 000 tonnes per annum. All new project components will be constructed within the current facility footprint and no greenfield areas will be cleared.

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA):

  • The ESIA process was managed by SLR, an independent consultant (Environmental Assessment Practitioner)
  • Focus areas of ESIA:
    • Waste management
    • Surface water
    • Groundwater
    • Air quality
    • Noise
    • Social-economic
    • Community
  • The main conclusion of the overall assessment was that the proposed upgrade and optimisation project would not create new environmental or social impacts to those currently being experienced and that the proposed project would not result in any significant cumulative impact.
  • The findings of the ESIA were communicated to interested and affected parties during public consultations and notes were incorporated in the final ESIA report
  • Additional review was also done by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the inputs were incorporated into the final report
  • In addition, the ESIA consolidates and incorporates the prior obtained separate Environmental Clearance Certificates such as Sulphuric acid plant, kliplime quarry, hazardous waste disposal facility, 11kv powelines etc.

Permitting:

  • ESIA reports were submitted to authority (Office of Environmental Commissioner) in October 2019 for regulatory review and approval
  • Environmental Clearance Certificate was issued on 13th December 2019 and received by DPM in January 2020

Water usage

We have two sources of water supply to our facility: domestic water and raw water. Domestic water is supplied by the Tsumeb municipality from one of its reservoirs, however this is originally sourced from the Municipal boreholes. This water is used for domestic purposes. Raw water is sourced from the old mine shaft and is used specifically for industrial processes (smelting and sulphuric acid production).

Hazardous Waste Management

The hazardous waste disposal facility is designed, constructed and operated according to best international practice and is approved by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET).

The design and construction protects groundwater resources from possible contamination; stormwater management to contain all contaminated water; early warning system including leakage detection line; dust suppression system; and a wash bay for the cleaning equipment and transportation vehicles. In addition, an ambient air quality monitoring station has been installed at the facility, to monitor for sulphur dioxide, dust and metals in the air.

The facility is inspected regularly, including by government officials and corporate team members.

In addition, an ambient air quality monitoring station has been installed at the facility, to monitor for sulphur dioxide, dust and metals in the air.

Air and Water Monitoring

Weekly reports of validated air quality measures, including dust (PM10) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) are communicated to employees and the Tsumeb community via electronic information display boards, both onsite and at our Information Centre located in Tsumeb.

With the construction of the sulphuric Acid Plant, which was built to capture sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions and convert it to acid, there has been a marked reduction in SO2 emissions.

We use state of the art EPA approved air quality monitoring equipment, to monitor for sulphur dioxide (SO2), arsenic (measured as PM10) as well as general PM10 and PM2.5 dust. These data sets are verified and validated by third party laboratories.

For ground water monitoring we employ a multi-level groundwater monitoring methodology, which allows for the collection of discrete samples from various depths. This allows us to understand the distribution of analytes, and better equip us to manage and protect this precious resource

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