By Hilary Mare
DUNDEE Precious Metals Tsumeb will look to push up throughput by approximately five percent, to 20 percent, in the coming months, as the mine seeks to recover from a monumental first quarter loss.
The mine’s parent company, Dundee Precious Metals Incorporated last week reported a first quarter net loss to common shareholders of N$170 million which translates to US$12.5 million (US$0.07 per share), compared to US$3.8 million (US$0.03 per share) for the same period in 2016.
Dundee President and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Howes, last Friday highlighted that at Tsumeb, the first quarter throughput was impacted by the advancement of the Ausmelt furnace maintenance shutdown into February, to address accelerated refractory wear, which was earlier than the proposed May/ June timing.
“Aligning the Ausmelt furnace maintenance shutdown with the first converter relines, scheduled for February, allowed the smelter to advance the installation of a matte holding furnace, which is expected to improve operational stability and performance. Good progress was made on converter and Ausmelt furnace optimisation through the quarter,” Howes said.
“For 2017, Tsumeb throughput is expected to increase by approximately five percent, to 20 percent over 2016, as a result of the increased availability of the Ausmelt furnace, ongoing converter and Ausmelt furnace improvement initiatives and the introduction of a matte holding furnace in the second quarter of 2017. Tsumeb remains on track to meet 2017 guidance,” he said.
The mine also stated that copper concentrate produced during the first quarter of 2017, of 23 510 tons, was 20 percent lower than the corresponding period in 2016, due primarily to lower copper grades and recoveries. Pyrite concentrate produced during the first quarter of 2017, of 56 757 tons, was four percent lower than the corresponding period in 2016.
“Tsumeb completed its Ausmelt furnace maintenance shutdown, and has been performing well following this shutdown and is expected to meet guidance,” Howes said.
On a global scale, the mining giant’s net loss, attributable to common shareholders from discontinued operations was zero per share in the first quarter of 2017, compared to US$2.3 million (US$0.01 per share) for the same period last year.
Net loss attributable to common shareholders from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2017 was impacted by net after-tax losses of US$6.3 million (US$2.5 million in 2016), related to several items not reflective of the company’s underlying operating performance, including unrealised losses on commodity swap and option contracts entered into to hedge a portion of future production, unrealised losses and gains on the forward point component of the forward foreign exchange contracts entered into to hedge a portion of foreign denominated operating costs and capital expenditures, and net gains on Sabina special warrants, each of which are excluded from adjusted net losses.
“The 2017 guidance that we have provided is not expected to occur evenly throughout the year. The estimated metals contained in concentrate produced, payable metals in concentrate sold and volumes of complex concentrates melted, are expected to vary from quarter to quarter, depending on the areas being mined, the timing of concentrate deliveries and planned outages,” Howes said.
“The rate of capital expenditures is also expected to vary from quarter to quarter, based on the schedule for, and execution of, each capital project.”
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