Copper smelting plant opens shop in Dar es Salaam

A copper smelter plant
A local company has invested over one million US dollars (about 16bn/-) on copper oxide ore smelting plant in Dar es Salaam with more in sight to expand its business. 

The move makes the company, a joint venture between Tanzanians and Danes, to become one of a few such plants at the East African region and probably the first in Tanzania. 

Danformation, a company which owns the plant, said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that the investment will add value on the country’s foreign exports earnings.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Joshua Dalgaard, told the ‘Daily News’ that foundry copper blister quality is around 90 to 98 per cent pure.

“We started operations a few months ago and this is good news to Tanzania as we will export copper blister ingots instead of raw products as it had been the case in the past”, he said.

The plant, with a total output capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes monthly, when in full production, is located at the Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) workshop premises along Nkrumah Street. 

He said the company started renovating the production facility last August, adding that, currently the plant can smelt between 1,000 and 1,500 metric tonnes copper oxide ore per month. 

Copper cathode plates
“We source copper oxide ore from within the country. Our job has been to educate small-scale miners on how to analyse the best product from the fake one”, 

Mr Dalgaard said. He said supplies come mainly from Ruvuma, Lindi, Dodoma, Kigoma, Singida, Morogoro, Tanga, Iringa, Mbeya and Rukwa. He said good copper oxide ores are Malachite  (green coloured) and Azurite   (blue coloured) with their percentage of copper metal ranging between 35 and 60 per cent. 

However, he said brown coloured ores have quality of between 18 and 30 per cent of copper. He said the company spent six months to work out a suitable system that could support rampant power interruptions currently facing the country.  

 “The system switches automatically and minimises high power usage. The foundry needs 2 megawatts or 200 kilowatts to run”, he said.

The National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) has already issued an environmental impact assessment (EIA) clearance certificate in January to the company. 

The plant is using Danish technology and currently runs ten hours a day before turning to a full-swing operating 24-hour schedule in the next few months, he said.

In 2011, the government almost banned the exports of copper ore but reversed its decision, as there was no copper smelting plant in the country.  The decision was based on the need to revolutionise the industry by adding value on copper to maximise tax revenues
Source: The Daily News,www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Abduel Elinaza
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