Dundee smelter shutdown extended

By Business Reporter

THE Tsumeb smelter shutdown in Namibia has been extended to 40 days, owing to Covid-19-related safety protocols, travel restrictions and an increase in the scope of maintenance work.

The shutdown was initially expected to be 30 days, but with the extended timeline, would now return to full operations only by the end of March, Toronto-listed Dundee Precious Metals said on Wednesday last week.

The Tsumeb specialty smelter – one of only a few in the world that can treat complex copper concentrates – is the processing outlet for concentrate from the Chelopech operation in Bulgaria. As a result of the revised timeline for the maintenance shutdown, combined with additional converter maintenance undertaken during the quarter, Dundee said that complex concentrate smelted for the first quarter would be about 25 000t to 30 000t.

Processing of complex concentrate from the Chelopech mine is not expected to be impacted by the Ausmelt furnace maintenance. The extended timeline would also not affect the 2021 guidance for complex concentrate smelted of between 220 000t and 250 000t, or Tsumeb’s forecast 2021 sustaining capital expenditure of US$16 million to US$20 million.