…Tsumeb plant to play pivotal role in recovery
By Hilary Mare
DUNDEE Precious Metals has reported a fourth quarter net loss attributable to common shareholders from continuing operations of around N$1,5 billion (US$107.5 million) compared to about N$12,6 million (US$0.9 million) for the same period in 2015.
As a result of this and amongst its recovery initiatives, the company announced that for 2017, Tsumeb throughput is expected to increase by approximately five percent to 20 percent over 2016 as a result of increased availability of the Ausmelt furnace, on-going converter improvement initiatives, including the introduction of matte holding furnaces in the second quarter of 2017 at a capital cost of approximately N$28 million.
Allaying any fear of production capacity Rick Howes, president and CEO remained adamant that the quarter was regardless of the loss a strong quarter with optimism of improvement highly pronounced.
“It was a strong quarter for both our operations. Chelopech gold and copper production came in at the high end of our guidance for 2016. The smelter had a strong finish to the year following a weak third quarter caused by the unplanned shutdown, achieving record production levels in December. For 2017, we expect the performance at the smelter to gradually improve, particularly over the second half of the year with the addition of matte holding furnaces to reduce bottlenecks,” he explained.
Notably, net loss attributable to common shareholders from continuing operations in 2016 was US$150.0 million (US$1.00 per share) compared to net earnings attributable to common shareholders from continuing operations of US$2.8 million (US$0.02 per share) in 2015. Net loss attributable to common shareholders from discontinued operations was US$2.5 million (US$0.02 per share) and US$1.6 million (US$0.01 per share) in the fourth quarter and in 2016, respectively, compared to US$47.7 million (US$0.34 per share) and US$49.8 million (US$0.35 per share) for the same periods in 2015.
On the other hand the company noted that the rate of capital expenditure is also expected to vary from quarter to quarter based on the schedule for, and execution of, each capital project.
“The 2017 guidance provided is not expected to occur evenly throughout the year. The estimated metals contained in concentrates produced and volumes of complex concentrate smelted are expected to vary from quarter to quarter depending on the areas being mined, the timing of concentrate deliveries and planned outages,” Howes extended.
Production in the second half of 2017 is expected to be higher than the first half based on the existing mine plans at Chelopech and the annual maintenance shutdown at Tsumeb, which started on February 9 and took approximately three weeks to complete.
“This relining was originally scheduled to occur in May, however, increased wear to a section of the lining where converter rather than Ausmelt bricks had to be used last year following the unplanned additional relining, prompted a rescheduling, and will result in Tsumeb being able to take advantage of the earlier than expected installation of matte holding furnaces in the converter aisle, which will be commissioned in March. During this maintenance shutdown, the Ausmelt and converter linings were replaced and the acid plant will undertook its annual maintenance,” Howes further explained.
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