By Hilary Mare
COMPLEX concentrate copper smelted at Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb (DPMT) in 2018, is expected to be between 220,000 and 250,000 tonnes, an increase of up to 14 percent over 2017 production levels, the mine has announced.
Rick Howes, President and CEO of Dundee Precious Metals, who recently highlighted that the company continues to optimize and ramp-up the Tsumeb facility, acknowledged that a key focus in 2018 will be achieving increased availability of the oxygen and power plants and a decrease in secondary levels.
“Volumes of complex concentrate smelted in the first half of 2018 are expected to be lower than the second half due to the timing of the annual maintenance shutdown, which is currently expected to take place during the first half of 2018. Tsumeb is also implementing several initiatives targeting unit cost reductions and productivity improvements,” said Howes.
The Company continues to advance its permitting and commercial discussions in connection with the installation of a rotary holding furnace, which would increase capacity up to 370,000 tonnes.
“The timing of this expansion is subject to timing of anticipated new complex concentrate coming on the market and adequate commercial arrangements being in place to support this expansion,” extended Howes.
Reflecting on the overall portfolio, Howes went on to say: “2017 was a very strong year. Chelopech delivered record gold production and outperformed guidance, while Tsumeb continued to demonstrate improvements in operating stability and performance and generated positive cash flow during the year. With first production from our low cost Krumovgrad gold project expected in the fourth quarter of 2018, we are fast approaching a new phase of growth that is expected to deliver a significant increase in gold production and operating cash flows. Together with our strong balance sheet and available capital resources, we are well positioned for 2018 and beyond.”
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Dundee Precious Metals reports that gold contained in concentrate produce increased by 12 percent to 49,390 ounces, copper production increased by seven percent to 9.5 million pounds and silver production increased by six percent to 53,920 ounces, in each case, relative to the corresponding period in 2016. The increase in gold production was due primarily to higher than anticipated gold grades and higher recoveries. The increase in gold recoveries was due primarily to ore mineralogy and the benefits of various initiat i v e s w i t h a spec i f i c f o cus on improving recoveries. The increase in copper production was due primarily to higher planned copper grades, consistent with the 2017 mine plan.
In 2017, gold contained in concentrate produced increased by 19 percent to 197,684 ounces, copper production decreased by seven percent to 35.8 million pounds and silver production decreased by nine percent to 206,767 ounces, in each case, relative to 2016. The increase in gold production was due primarily to higher gold recoveries and higher than anticipated grades. The decreases in copper and silver production were due primarily to lower grades, consistent with the 2017 mine plan.
Complex concentrate smelted during the fourth quarter of 2017 of 58,983 tonnes was four percent or 2,287 tonnes lower than the corresponding period in 2016 due primarily to reduced availability of the high pressure oxygen plant and a higher incidence of seasonal power outages, which impacted smelter o p e rations during the quarter.
A total of 219,252 tonnes of complex concentrate was smelted during 2017, which was nine percent or 18,980 tonnes higher than 2016 due primarily to a continued focus on operational excellence, increased availability of Tsumeb’s main plants and the introduction of a matte holding furnace, partially offset by reduced availability of the high pressure oxygen plant.
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