MOPANI Copper Mines Plc has commissioned the second convertor to curb the problem of the mine's sulphur dioxide emissions that dates back to the 1930's, company chief executive officer, Danny Callow has said.
Under an ambitious Smelter Upgrade Project Mopani Copper Mines has embarked on the construction of three convertors and two acid plants which would result in the capture of more than 97 per cent of the sulphur dioxide from the smelter, compared to 0 per cent sulphur dioxide capture during the decades before the Government embarked on the privatisation of the state owned mines in the 1990s.
Mr Callow said in a statement that the commissioning of the convertor marked an important milestone in the Phase Three Smelter upgrade project that Mopani initiated to address the problem of sulphur emissions which had characterised the old smelter since its inception in the 1930s and remains one of its biggest legacy issues.
"This milestone reaffirms Mopani's commitment to completing the project on time and bringing the problem of sulphur emission to an end once and for all. It also gives us confidence that we are on track to meet our self-imposed December 2013 goal to complete this upgrade project, 18 months ahead of the schedule agreed with the Government at the time of privatisation," he said.
He said Mopani Mine Plc successful commissioned the second convertor 11 days ahead of schedule.
The convertor was initially scheduled to be commissioned by 31st December 2012, but the highly dedicated team working on the project were able to complete the installation ahead of schedule.
The new machine started processing its first batch of blister copper on December 20, 2012.
"We are glad that the Government of the Republic of Zambia is supporting our efforts to further environmental sustainability measures to Mufulira by approving the necessary documents and plans needed for the successful completion of this project," said Mr. Callow.
In October 2012 the Government, through the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), approved the construction of the second acid plant, which is an integral part of the smelter upgrade project.
With the commissioning of the second convertor, Mopani would await delivery of the third and last convertor, which was expected to be installed together with the second acid plant.
Construction of the third convertor was already underway and scheduled to be completed in April 2013.
The third convertor and the second acid plant are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2013 and would mark the completion of smelter upgrade project.