23 November 2012

Namibia: Typo Makes Water Report Look Bad

The copper smelter in Tsumeb this week denied all culpability of water contamination quoting a recent ministry report that gave it a clean bill of health.

On Monday, Namibia Custom Smelters, a subsidiary of Dundee Precious Metals Inc., put out a statement saying media reports created the impression Custom Smelters is responsible for arsenic poisoning while, in fact, this was due to a typing error in the government's report.

"This perception was created by a typographical error in the audit report which erroneously indicated high levels of arsenic. In fact, independent tests conducted on Ondundu's water - as well as water supplied to the Tsumeb community at large - verify that it contains insignificant amounts of arsenic. These insignificant amounts are well within the government's guidelines for excellent-quality drinking water."

"The government's audit report states that Ondundu water has extremely low arsenic levels and that these levels are far below the maximum allowable levels for arsenic in Class A (excellent quality) water. In short, Ondundu's water poses absolutely no danger to residents."

Casting the net slightly wider, Custom Smelters said there is also zero contamination from the smelter in any groundwater used by the Tsumeb community. "This has been independently confirmed by both Custom Smelters' monthly water-quality monitoring programme and by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

"All indications are that smelter operations have no impact on water or the health and well-being of Tsumeb residents. NCS will continue to manage its operational use of water to the highest standards to ensure that it has no adverse effects on those who use it."

Custom Smelters has given the Tsumeb Municipality N$1 million to help the local authority improve water delivery to its rate payers.

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