Dundee Precious Metals Inc. [DPM-TSX] announced preliminary production results from both of its mines and smelter for the three months ended March 31, 2021. Mining operations are on track to meet previously issued guidance for 2021 and provided updated guidance for its Tsumeb smelter in Namibia.
“The first quarter was a solid start to the year, which included a new record for quarterly gold production at Ada Tepe,” said David Rae, President and CEO. “With the completion of the planned maintenance at the Tsumeb smelter, we resumed full operations at the end of March and expect stronger smelter performance for the balance of the year.”
Ada Tepe continued to deliver impressive performance, achieving a new quarterly record for gold production of approximately 33,400 ounces, slightly ahead of expectations. Ada Tepe is on track to achieve 2021 guidance.
Chelopech produced approximately 36,900 oz gold and 7.2 million lbs copper in Q1, slightly lower than forecast due to lower copper grades as well as lower copper and gold recovery with certain ore blends. Chelopech remains on track to achieve 2021 guidance.
Complex concentrate smelted was expected to be lower in Q1 than the remainder of the year, primarily due to the planned Ausmelt furnace shutdown at Tsumeb.
During Q1, Tsumeb processed about 23,000 tonnes of complex concentrate, slightly below guidance of 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes and below expectations for Q1. Ausmelt maintenance was completed in Q1 and full operations resumed at end of March. As a result of the extended shutdown and additional maintenance activities, DPM has revised its 2021 guidance for Tsumeb to 200,000-220,000 tonnes of complex concentrate smelted from the previous range of 220,000-250,000 tonnes.
On March 30, DPM announced a mine life extension and updated Resource and Reserve estimate for the Chelopech mine. Chelopech successfully added 3.9 million tonnes (Mt) to Reserves, which more than offset 2020 production depletion of 2.2 Mt for a net addition of 1.7 Mt. Relative to the previous Reserve estimate, this represents an increase of 10% in tonnage and an increase in metal content of 5% for gold, 13% for silver and 3% for copper. Proven and Probable Reserves of 1.7 million oz gold and 344.4 million lbs copper support an optimized mine life that extends to 2029 as well as the three-year outlook for Chelopech.
Measured and Indicated Resources, exclusive of Reserves, increased by 22%, representing a 3.2 Mt net increase in tonnage and an increase in metal content of 12% for gold and 6% for copper, which further adds potential to extend mine life at Chelopech. DPM continues to focus on extending mine life at Chelopech through its in-mine and brownfield exploration programs, with an extensive program planned for 2021 that includes 44,000 metres of in-mine drilling and 38,000 metres of drilling on prospective brownfield targets.
Resource and Reserve estimates for Ada Tepe mine in Bulgaria and Timok gold project in Serbia remain unchanged from the estimates previously reported.
DPM will pay a quarterly dividend of US$0.03 per share on April 15, 2021 to shareholders of record as at 5:00 p.m. Toronto local time on March 31, 2021.