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Dundee to Raise Copper-Smelting Capacity in Namibia Next Month

Dundee Precious Metals Inc. expects to ramp up to full processing capacity at its copper smelter in Namibia next month after receiving government clearances, said Hans Nolte, the local general manager.

Dundee, based in Toronto, upgraded the smelter in Tsumeb to raise production capacity to 240,000 metric tons of concentrate a year, Nolte said. It is adding a sulphuric acid plant to curb emissions of arsenic trioxide as part of environmental-protection measures requested by the government, he said yesterday by phone from Tsumeb, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of the capital, Windhoek.

Namibian Customs Smelter’s capacity was estimated at 195,000 tons to 215,000 tons of concentrate last year, according data published on the company’s website.

“We are ramping up to operate at full production capacity by mid-April,” Nolte said. “The government still needs to conduct more inspections, but the smelter will be operating at full capacity in two weeks.”

Dundee bought the smelter from Weatherly International Plc in 2010 and it is one of five commercial-scale smelters in Africa, according to the company’s website. Dundee’s Chelopech mine in Bulgaria provides about half the business for Namibian Customs Smelter, it said.

Dundee has spent $140 million “fixing environmental-related issues” at the facility and it is investing $240 million to build the acid plant, which is scheduled to be completed by year-end, Nolte said. The company may increase smelting capacity further once the acid plant is operational, he said.

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