Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb: Going above and beyond to give back to the community
Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb, one of three subsidiaries of the Canadian company Dundee Precious Metals Inc., is the Namibian faction of the business. Its site in Tsumeb is located around 430 kilometres north of Windhoek – Namibia’s capital – and sits close to the nation’s greatest wildlife sanctuary, Etosha National Park.
Dundee Precious Metals built a smelter here in the 1960s, drawing on the rich seams of copper found in Tsumeb’s mines. Now, the plant contains two Pierce Smith Converters, a Top-Submerged Lance Ausmelt furnace, a sulphuric acid plant, and slag milling and flotation plant. 700 people are employed at the smelter – a significant portion of its 14,000 population.
The company originally began as Tsumeb Corporation Limited, putting the Tsumeb plant into production in 1963 using the expertise of Newport Mining Corporation. It was soon producing over 3,500 tons of copper and 6,000 of lead a month (until the lead smelter closed in the 1990s), and the company went through a period of uncertainty as it changed hands several times and suffered a period of inactivity due to labour strikes.
The smelting plant was finally sold to Dundee Precious Metals Inc. in 2010, with the TSL Ausmelt furnace quickly converted from a lead smelting vessel to a copper one. An oxygen plant was then added to increase the efficiency of the furnace, and the sulphuric acid plant followed soon after. The latter ensures that no harmful sulphur dioxide enters the atmosphere in the treatment process.
Tsumeb’s smelter is a rare one in that it is able to treat and process complex copper concentrate, something few others are advanced enough for. It produces 98.5 percent pure copper blister, which is refined in Europe and Asia to be turned into metal. The other elements, arsenic trioxide and sulphuric acid, are sold to third party customers and Namibian uranium and copper producers respectively.
Dundee Precious Metals, too, is unusual in its unwavering approach to sustainability, not something that is always a priority in the industry. It claims to follow the highest possible standard of business ethics and social behaviour, and has implemented various continuous improvement strategies to ensure this. DPM’s excellent relationships with shareholders means that the company trusts each of them to abide by the same policies, cementing a positive reputation for everybody involved.
In summer 2016, DPMs Vice President and Managing Director Zebra Kasete was interviewed for Lela Mobile, and discussed with Rosalia David many of these aspects, as well as the future of Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb.
“Any international company operating in a local community needs to be appreciative towards their host community,” he explained. “Corporate social responsibility is crucial to Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb. As a foreign company, we believe in investing part of our proceeds into the community in which we operate. With the administrative assistance from the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s local branch, the Tsumeb Community Trust has provided grants to over 80 small Namibian-owned businesses that have in turn employed and trained a significant number of Namibians who might otherwise be unemployed.
“Dundee has contributed approximately N$15 million to a public-private partnership with the National Housing Enterprise to build 67 houses for ownership by our employees, with more in the pipeline. This is also in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan theme for mining companies to continue providing houses to the communities. We are happy and committed to work together with the government to progress this specific theme.”
DPM also awards bursaries to local students, having spent N$5 million on them already, and focusses heavily on utilising local businesses through its preferential procurement policy. The business’s dedication to its many continuous improvement causes is incredibly admirable, and Kasete summed up his feelings on the subject succinctly:
“Managing expectations on all levels is the biggest challenge for new leaders. I must understand the commitment made by the company, and manage those expectations effectively whilst delivering on them. Despite all of the exciting challenges, I am happy that I am working for a company whose value resonates with my own.”
The January 2017 issue of Mining Global is live!
Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]
Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity
Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.
Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).
It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.
Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.
Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.
Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.
Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.
Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”
Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market. The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”
Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”
Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.