TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sep 16, 2013) - Dundee Precious Metals Inc. (DPM.TO)(DPM-WTA.TO) (the "Company" or "DPM") has revised 2013 production guidance for the Tsumeb Smelter in Namibia (the "Smelter") and the Kapan Mine in Armenia ("Kapan"). Guidance for the Chelopech Mine ("Chelopech") in Bulgaria remains unchanged.
Smelter production for August and September has been running at approximately 16,500 tonnes per month ("tpm"). This is lower than expected due to delays associated with the construction of the second oxygen plant. As a result, commissioning of the oxygen plant is now expected to be completed in October 2013, after which the Smelter will ramp up to its full operating capacity, and is expected to average approximately 21,500 tpm for the balance of the year, in advance of emissions testing. For 2013, DPM now expects Tsumeb's concentrate throughput will be 172,000 - 178,000 tonnes, down from previous guidance of 185,000 - 200,000 tonnes. While the Smelter's production ramp up has been slower than expected, the improvements made over the past year have significantly reduced fugitive emissions at and around the Smelter and are expected to result in the Namibian government's production curtailment being lifted in the fourth quarter of 2013 in support of this production schedule.
At Kapan, the recent increased levels of mine production highlighted the mine's inability to maintain adequate development inventory based on current performance. As a result, production has been reduced and is expected to remain at 30,000 - 35,000 tpm during the second half of 2013, while development inventory is rebuilt and development performance is improved in advance of resuming normal operating levels and further potential increases associated with Kapan's newly defined resource. As a result, 2013 production at Kapan is expected to decline from 550,000 - 600,000 tonnes to 470,000 - 500,000 tonnes. Production is expected to return to normal levels in the second quarter of 2014.
Operations at DPM's flagship Chelopech Mine continue to deliver mine and mill results in line with expectations.
"Despite these near term challenges, we continue to make significant operating improvements at Tsumeb and Kapan," said Rick Howes, President and CEO, "and remain focused on optimizing the value of all of our operations."
Overall, these revisions to DPM's consolidated ore and metals production guidance do not significantly impact the ranges previously issued, with the exception of zinc and silver. Updated production guidance for each operation is set out below. Mine and smelter cost per tonne guidance remains unchanged.
|2013 Updated Production Guidance||Prior Guidance|
|Ore mined/milled ('000 tonnes)||1,900 - 2,050||470 - 500||-||2,370 - 2,550||2,450 - 2,650|
|Concentrate Smelted ('000 tonnes)||-||-||172 - 178||172 - 178||185 - 200|
|Metals contained in concentrate|
|Gold ('000 ounces)||125 - 143||23 - 25||-||148 - 168||150 - 173|
|Copper (million pounds)||43.0 - 46.0||2.3 - 2.5||-||45.3 - 48.5||45.5 - 49.0|
|Zinc (million pounds)||-||14.5 - 15.0||-||14.5 - 15.0||16.5 - 18.5|
|Silver ('000 ounces)||210 - 230||420 - 435||-||630 - 665||700 - 750|
Dundee Precious Metals Inc. is a Canadian based, international gold mining company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, mining and processing of precious metals. The Company's principal operating assets include the Chelopech operation, which produces a gold, copper and silver concentrate, located east of Sofia, Bulgaria; the Kapan operation, which produces gold, copper, zinc and silver concentrate, located in southern Armenia; and the Tsumeb smelter, a concentrate processing facility located in Namibia. DPM also holds interests in a number of developing gold properties located in Bulgaria, Serbia, and northern Canada, including interests held through its 53.1% owned subsidiary, Avala Resources Ltd., its 45.5% interest in Dunav Resources Ltd. and its 9.8% interest in Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "guidance", "outlook", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management and certain professionals as of the date such statements are made, and on certain assumptions. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release and other disclosure documents issued from time to time are typically, but not always, limited to statements with respect to future production, operating costs, financial liquidity and capital funding, growth opportunities, capital expenditures, cost and timing to develop new deposits, conduct exploration activities and receive permits, the price of gold, copper, zinc and silver, the estimation and realization of mineral reserves and resources, foreign currency exchange rates, government regulation, environmental risks, reclamation costs, and the timing and possible outcome of pending litigation. By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement. This includes, among other things: availability of future growth opportunities; actual results of current exploration activities; actual results of current reclamation activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; actual price of gold, copper, zinc and silver; actual foreign exchange rates; plant, equipment or processes operating as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and other risks inherent to the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, as well as those risk factors discussed or referred to herein and contained in other documents filed from time to time with the securities regulatory authorities in all provinces and territories of Canada and available at www.sedar.com.
Key assumptions underlying the updated production guidance contained in this new release, which may prove to be incorrect, include, but are not limited to: Tsumeb completing the commissioning of the second oxygen plant in October 2013, the Namibian government lifting the current production curtailment in the fourth quarter of 2013, and Tsumeb running at full operating capacity in November and December 2013; and in the case of Kapan, the accuracy of current mineral resource estimates (including, but not limited to, ore tonnage and grade estimates), executing its mine plan and delivering improved levels of development, maintaining equipment availability and mill uptime, and development inventory being rebuilt in the second quarter of 2014. These assumptions are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including further delays in commissioning the second oxygen plant or the removal of the existing curtailment resulting in Tsumeb not operating at full capacity in November and December 2013, and at Kapan variations in ore grades and recovery rates, mine development performance and the rebuilding of development inventory taking longer than currently expected. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement, there may be other factors. There can be no assurance that any forward-looking statement will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Unless required by securities laws, the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
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President & Chief Executive Officer
Dundee Precious Metals Inc.
SVP, Investor & Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Secretary