Glencore confirms Kamoto Copper acid spill, says event was “limited release”

GLENCORE’S Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had a “limited release” of sulphuric acid from a tank during maintenance work on March 16, said Reuters citing the commodities trading giant on Tuesday.

Glencore declined to say how much acid was spilled from the tank, but said KCC immediately contained the spill and conducted follow-up monitoring of the environment, and there were no injuries to the workforce or contractors.

“At approximately 7pm on 16 March, KCC experienced a limited release of acid from Tank Farm 1 during maintenance work. There was no explosion,” Glencore said in a statement.

“Follow-up with the community was conducted to advise of the event and our community officers have not registered any complaints nor concerns from their engagement with the surrounding communities.”

Glencore’s statement came after the DRC non-governmental organisation AFREWATCH said a tank containing sulphuric acid had exploded at KCC, causing acid to spill into nearby rivers, and called for an investigation.

KCC, which is 75% owned by Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining with the remainder held by DRC’s state mining company Gecamines, produces copper and cobalt near Kolwezi, the capital of Congo’s Lualaba province, said Reuters.

KCC produced 23,900 tons of cobalt in 2020, up 40% in the previous year, it said.