Copper smelter for Witvlei

Environmental clearance certificate issued

11 October 2021 | Business

Witvlei • [email protected]

Following the recent attainment of an environmental clearance certificate, construction has begun to erect a mobile modular copper smelter in the Witvlei area.
The smelter project of approximately N$70 million (U$4.5 million) will start with a research and development phase, says Ben Biwa of New Horizon Investments Group. The group has partnered with the Witvlei town council, with the latter owning 5% of the joint venture.
The new plant is being built between the Witvlei abattoir and the existing Namchar charcoal plant. It is located on the farm Okatjirute, around 2km from the B2 main road between Windhoek and Gobabis.
Town council made 4.6 hectares available and also invited the developer to come and view land for housing.
The chief executive of the town council, Hendrik Muisoor, said in a letter of January 2021, that the land is not allocated indefinitely, and asked that the executive director of New Horizon, Berend van den Berg, keeps council abreast of developments.
New Horizon uses EXRAM Technology from South Africa’s 1 tonne dome furnace technology built by their compatriots Global Smelters.
Biwa said the smelter is modern and because it is manufactured in modular form, “we just have to put the modules together. We are almost done with it,” he said.
“We will start with trial runs. This is the first of its kind in Namibia, because it melts copper oxide, unlike the copper sulphides that are smelted at Tsumeb. It is much more environmentally friendly and we can almost call it a ‘green project’,” he said.
Initially, the plant will offer up to 40 jobs, specifically where possible for residents of Witvlei who council will be identify, but at full production, 100 jobs can be created, Biwa said.
The plant will be able to produce 556 tons of black copper per year, from ore sources within the country, from exclusive license areas in Omaheke and owned by the group, and from their copper mine on a farm near Kamanjab, Biwa said.
During the public consultation process, concerns were heard about air pollution, groundwater and traffic especially as more large trucks will use the roads.
According to Cuvepalm Consulting's environmental impact study, air pollution can be controlled by a cyclone air purifier, and water demand limited with controlled runoff that can reduce groundwater pollution.

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