19-Jun-2007 - Degussa AG

Success with Safety: Wesseling's Cyanide Plant Turns 50

CyPlus GmbH's cyanide plant in Wesseling is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. "From its early days in 1957, Wesseling has developed into our most important production site," pointed out CyPlus's managing director Frank Harenburg at an event for employees, customers, and suppliers to mark the occasion. CyPlus, a wholly owned subsidiary of Degussa GmbH, is one of the world's leading cyanide companies.

CyPlus supplies cyanides to customers in the mining, chemical, pharmaceutical, and surface-finishing industries. The most important application of cyanides worldwide is in the recovery of gold from ore. In Wesseling, its largest production site, CyPlus employs 40 persons. The capacity of the plant, which was just a few metric tons at its opening 50 years ago, has been increasing steadily over the years. "Since June 1957 we've produced a total of one million metric tons in Wesseling, which is twice as much as today's global annual requirement," estimates Harenburg. Other important production facilities exist in North America.

The beginnings of the RAG-subsidiary, Degussa, are closely linked to cyanide chemistry. As early as 1864, one of its predecessor companies in Frankfurt was producing potassium cyanide for electroplating, among other applications. Sodium cyanide production then started in 1891. Right from the start, the cyanide was used for gold recovery, initially in South Africa and subsequently in the U.S.

The company also sets great store by safety at its own sites. Following a review of the Wesseling plant, CyPlus obtained International Cyanide Management Code certification in 2006, confirming that the company is producing cyanides in compliance with the best-practice guidelines of the Code. Additionally, CyPlus's business activities worldwide have received ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001 certification from the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung von Managementsystemen [German Society for Certification of Management Systems].

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