Dundee’s Bulgaria gold mine hits capacity

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Dundee Precious Metals Inc. [DPM-TSX] said Friday September 27 that its Ada Tepe gold mine in Bulgaria has successfully completed ramp-up activities and has achieved full design throughput and recovery levels.

“We are extremely excited to see the operation achieve and sustain design tonnages and recoveries in September as expected,” said Dundee President and CEO Rick Howes. “This is yet another milestone that will help transition Dundee Precious Metals to a new tier of gold producers and growth in free cash flow,” he said.

The company said Ada Tepe has been operating at full design tonnage at the mine and processing plant of 2,500 tonnes per day at 85% recovery in concentrate for a period of 10 days.

On Friday, Dundee shares were off 0.85% or $0.04 to $4.64. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $2.90 and $5.75.

The operating update comes after Dundee recently received the final operating permits for the Ada Tepe mine.

Dundee is a Canadian international mining company with operations in Namibia and Bulgaria. It also has exploration projects in Armenia, Bulgaria and Serbia. Its asset portfolio includes a 10.3% stake in Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. [SBB-TSX] which is developing the 100%-owned Back River gold project in Nunavut.

Dundee’s operating assets include the Chelopech and Ada Tepe mines in Bulgaria and Tsumeb specialty smelter in Namibia, as well as the development stage Timok gold project in Serbia.

The Ada Tepe mine achieved a major milestone in the second quarter of 2019 by reaching the commercial production stage. However, production at the mine and mill was lower than planned in the second quarter as the operation was constrained by longer than expected tailings settlement time, which delayed the construction of the subsequent cells of the integrated mine waste facility (IMWF).

Back on July 10, 2019, when the company announced its second quarter results, Dundee said annual gold production guidance for Ada Tepe has been revised downward to between 45,000 to 60,000 ounces. That compares to the original target of 55,000 to 75,000 ounces.

However, following the declaration of commercial production in June, 2019, the company was able to apply for its formal operating permit from Bulgarian authorities.

Formerly known as Krumovgrad, Ada Tepe (as it is known locally) is expected to produce a life-of-mine average (currently eight years) of 85,000 ounces at a US$404/oz cash cost, according to a NI 43-101 technical report filed in November, 2017.

Achieving commercial production at Ada Tepe is regarded as a key milestone as it establishes Dundee as a mid-tier gold producer with targeted annual production of 350,000 gold equivalent ounces. The operation is a high-grade open pit with 800,000 ounces of gold reserves. The mine is expected to provide employment for roughly 230 people.

Dundee’s other operating asset – the Chelopech mine –  is located in central-western Bulgaria approximately 70 km east of Sofia, the national capital on the southern flank of the Balkan Range.

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