…As 24 day care and maintenance shutdown takes toll
By Hilary Mare
FOLLOWING a 24 day maintenance shutdown at its Tsumeb smelter, Dundee Precious Metals has announced that complex copper concentrate smelted during the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 was 23 percent lower than the corresponding period in 2017. The company says copper concentrate smelted during the period under review amounted to 46,409 tonnes or 14,234 tonnes lower than last year.
Announcing the mine’s Q2 production results last week, Rick Howes, President and Chief Executive Officer of the mine noted that continued improvement in refractory performance had enabled the furnace maintenance shutdown to be deferred from March to May 2018.
“The 24 day maintenance shutdown was successfully executed in the second quarter of 2018 and concentrate smelted in the period was in line with expectations. The maintenance shutdown was deferred from March to May due to a significantly improved refractory campaign of 15 months representing both a time and tonnage record and it is expected that these campaigns can be extended in the future so as to support further improvements in performance”
“Complex concentrate smelted in the first half of 2018 was affected by power related instability during the first quarter rainy season and Ausmelt off-gas system related downtime. The off-gas system refurbishment during the May shutdown is expected to provide improved operating continuity in the second half of 2018 and, as such, the full year 2018 concentrate throughput is expected to be within guidance,” Howes explained.
He that following the furnace maintenance shutdown, the smelter has performed well and concentrate smelted in July surpassed the prior production record demonstrating the incremental improvements being achieved in smelting operations.
Complex concentrate smelted during the first six months of 2018 of 100,551 tonnes was essentially the same as the corresponding period in 2017 affected by power related instability during the first quarter rainy season and Ausmelt off-gas system related downtime.
“The off-gas system refurbishment during the May maintenance shutdown is expected to provide improved operating continuity in the second half of 2018 and, as such, the full year 2018 concentrate throughput is expected to be within guidance.” he adds.
Cost of sales in the second quarter of 2018 of US$75.6 million was US$12.1 million higher than the corresponding period in 2017 due primarily to higher copper concentrate deliveries and a weaker U.S. dollar relative to the Euro and the NAD. This was partially offset by lower depreciation and a decrease in variable operating costs at Tsumeb as a result of the Ausmelt furnace maintenance shutdown in the period.
Cost of sales in the second quarter of 2018 also included a US$5.5 million adjustment to reclassify certain costs previously reported as general and administrative expenses in respect of MineRP, which was acquired in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Commenting on global operations, Howes extended that the firm had another strong quarter at Chelopech resulting in 2018 gold production guidance being increased.
“Our Krumovgrad gold project is progressing well and, while slightly behind schedule, remains on track to achieve production of first concentrate late in the fourth quarter of 2018. As a result, we expect a significant increase in gold production and operating cash flows in 2019 and beyond following the completion of Krumovgrad,” Howes said.
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