Dundee lowers output expectations

By Hilary Mare

DUNDEE Precious Metals Tsumeb has revised its 2021 guidance to between 200 000 and 220 000 tonnes of complex concentrate smelted from the previous range of between 220 000 to 250 000 tonnes as a result of the extended shutdown and additional maintenance activities of its Ausmelt furnace.
As expected, complex concentrate smelted in the first quarter was lower than it would be the remainder of the year.
The mine’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, David Rae last week said that during the first quarter the Tsumeb smelter processed approximately 23 000 tonnes of complex concentrate, which was slightly below the guidance range of 25 000 to 30 000 tonnes provided in the company’s news release dated March 3 2021 and below expectations for the quarter.
He extended that the Ausmelt maintenance, which was originally planned for 30 days, was extended to 45 days and was combined with additional converter maintenance that was also completed during the first quarter.
“The longer-than-planned timeline was primarily a result of Covid-19 related safety protocols, travel restrictions and the use of remote commissioning support, as well as a decision to increase the scope of the maintenance work around the Ausmelt lining replacement. The Ausmelt maintenance was completed during the first quarter and full operations resumed at the end of March,” Rae further said.
Overall however, the mine also confirmed that its mining operations are on track to meet previously issued guidance for 2021.
This was backed by its Ada Tepe mine where operations continued to deliver impressive performance, achieving a new quarterly record for gold production of approximately 33400 ounces, which was slightly ahead of expectations.
Dundee’s other mine, Chelopech produced approximately 36 900 ounces of gold and 7.2 million pounds of copper in the first quarter, which was slightly lower than forecast due to lower copper grades as well as lower copper and gold recovery performance with certain ore blends. Chelopech remains on track to achieve 2021 guidance.
On March 30 2021, Dundee announced a mine life extension and updated mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate for the Chelopech mine. Chelopech successfully added 3.9 million tonnes (“Mt”) to mineral reserves, which more than offset 2020 production depletion of 2.2 Mt for a net addition of 1.7 Mt. Relative to the previous mineral reserve estimate, this represents an increase of 10 percent in tonnage and an increase in metal content of 5percentfor gold, 13percent for silver and 3percent for copper. Proven and probable mineral reserves of 1.7 million ounces of gold and 344.4 million pounds of copper support an optimized mine life that extends to 2029 as well as the Company’s previously issued three-year outlook for Chelopech.
In addition, measured and indicated mineral resources, exclusive of mineral reserves, increased by 22 percent, representing a 3.2 Mt net increase in tonnage and an increase in metal content of 12 percent for gold and six percent for copper, which further adds to the potential to extend mine life at Chelopech.
DPM continues to focus on extending mine life at Chelopech through its in-mine and brownfield exploration programs, with an extensive programme planned for 2021 that includes 44000 metres of in-mine drilling and 38 000 metres of drilling on prospective brownfield targets.