Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) held its 7th Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid Conference in Swakopmund.
The two-day international event was attended by over 95 representatives and industry leaders from various countries around the world such as Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, China, Denmark, Netherlands, USA and Canada.
The aim of the annual conference is to expose delegates to issues relating to the generation and handling of Sulphur, sulphuric acid and Sulphur dioxide reduction within the metallurgical and other industries, and the conference provides an opportunity to introduce new technologies and equipment to producers and consumers of sulphur as well as sulphuric acid and related products in the field.
In addition, the conference enables participants to share information and experience in the application of new technologies, collaborate and provide an opportunity for role players in the industry to discuss common problems and solutions.
In his keynote address Zebra Kasete, President of the Namibian Chamber of Mines and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb Vice President and Managing Director highlighted the importance of collaboration between the mining and agricultural sectors, highlighting how sulphuric acid can be a catalyst for industrial revolution in Namibia.
“The mining industry in Namibia contributes approximately 50 percent of the country’s export revenue and constitutes 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry-generated revenue of N$29 billion in 2017 of which approximately N$11.76 billion (41 percent) was spent on goods and services procured from Namibian based suppliers. The local spend expenditure demonstrates the industry’s commitment to support local suppliers,” Kasete said.
According to Kasete local procurement is one avenue where previously historically disadvantaged Namibians can participate, meaningfully in the country’s economic activities.
“I accept from the out-set that, we miners are not manufactures and we are not skilled in the same, however, acid producers have a key role to play in sparking the industrial revolution in Namibia. Sulphuric acid production in Namibia, has contributed to the upgrade of the country’s railway line and to increased bulk transportation of chemicals, which come with additional services as well as skills” he said.
The President of the Namibian Chamber of Mines urged sulphuric acid producers to change their mindset from believing that their market is limited to the mining industry.
“I would like to urge, sulphuric acid producers to learn from the diamond industry and consider doing the same. In particular, I would like to encourage everyone, to create opportunities for the fertilizer industry because if Namibia starts producing her own fertilizers, it will increase productivity in agriculture and reduce dependency on imports” Kasete said.
Kasete called on government to develop policies, which encourage collaboration within the agriculture and mining sectors.
“The increase in sulphuric acid consumption will contribute to industry revolution as envisaged in national development policies,” he said.