Tsumeb smelter falls short of target
• By Hilary Mare
THE Tsumeb smelter processed approximately 47 200 tonnes of complex concentrate in the first quarter of 2022 which was below target for the quarter, Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb’s preliminary results for the quarter reveal.
This, the miner revealed, was as a result of maintenance to the off-gas system as well as reduced baghouse capacity, which impacted throughput.
“Additional maintenance to both systems is expected to take place during the scheduled Ausmelt furnace maintenance, which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2022. Tsumeb is on track to meet 2022 guidance,” David Rae, president and chief executive officer said.
In its other subsidiaries, Chelopech produced approximately 41 500 ounces of gold and 7.7 million pounds of copper in the first quarter. Gold production was above expectation, largely as a result of higher ore processed and higher gold recovery achieved in copper concentrate, partially offset by lower recoveries in pyrite concentrate.
Copper production was slightly below plan due to lower copper grades. Chelopech is on track to achieve 2022 guidance.
On the other hand, Ada Tepe produced approximately 21 400 ounces of gold, which was above expectations for the first quarter as a result of higher gold grade. Ada Tepe is on track to achieve 2022 guidance, with grades and production expected to be stronger in the second half of the year.
In line with its disciplined capital allocation framework, Dundee Precious Metals continues to return capital to shareholders through a sustainable quarterly dividend and share repurchases under its normal course issuer bid.
In February 2022, Dundee Precious Metals announced a 33 percent increase to its quarterly dividend from US$0.03 per share to US$0.04 per share, reflecting the company’s continued positive outlook for the business. The increase to US$0.04 per share will commence with the first quarter dividend, payable on April 18 2022,” Rae said.
During the first quarter, DPM repurchased approximately 1 489 100 common shares at an average price of N$88 per share.
The company plans to release its first quarter 2022 operating and financial results after market close on May 4.
Complex concentrate smelted is expected to be between 210 000 and 240 000 tonnes in each of 2022 and 2023, down from the previous 2022 outlook of 220 000 to 250 000 tonnes and 2023 outlook of 230 000 to 265 000 tonnes, reflecting scheduled furnace maintenance shutdowns in the second quarter of 2022 and at the end of 2023 based on an expected 18-month operating cycle, as well as the recent operating performance at the smelter.
In 2024, complex concentrate smelted is expected to be between 220 000 and 250 000 tonnes reflecting no scheduled furnace maintenance shutdown in 2024. Over 90 percent of concentrate feed is currently contracted through to the end of 2023, with the remaining feed in 2022 and 2023 and additional feed thereafter expected to be contracted in the normal course.