JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Copper and gold miner Dundee Precious Metals has increased its 2017 production and sales guidance on the back of two strong quarters at the Chelopech mine, in Bulgaria.
The mine, which produces a copper concentrate containing gold and silver and a pyrite concentrate containing gold, increased its half-year production by 18% to 99 845 oz of gold, from 84 910 oz in the corresponding period.
Second-quarter gold production increased by 40% year-on-year to 53 474 oz.
However, copper production decreased in the three months and six months under review. Chelopech produced 8.7-million pounds of copper in the second quarter, compared with 9.6-million pounds in the same period a year earlier. Interim copper output decreased to 16.8-million pounds, from 20.2-million pounds.
Silver production decreased 12% year-on-year to 44 278 oz in the second quarter.
Canada-headquartered Dundee sold 81 137 oz of gold, 15.1-million pounds of copper and 78 753 oz of silver in the half-year. This compares with year-earlier gold sales of 69 618 oz, copper sales of 17.6-million pounds and silver sales of 75 501 oz.
The improved gold sales helped the company to increase its half-year revenue to $161.5-million, from $142.6-million in the first six months of 2016. Second-quarter revenue rose to $86.9-million, from $7.5-million in the corresponding period last year.
The higher metals production of the first half led to Dundee increasing its 2017 production and sales guidance for Chelopech for the full year.
The miner now expects to produce between 173 000 oz and 187 000 oz of gold, compared with an earlier guidance of 157 000 oz to 174 000 oz of gold. Copper production is forecast in the 35-million to 39-million pound range, compared with an original guidance of 33.7-million to 37-million pounds.
The gold sales forecast has been increased to 147 000 oz to 163 000 oz, from 135 000 oz to 150 000 oz. Copper sales are expected to be in the 33-million to 36-million pounds range, up from an original guidance of 32-million to 35-million pounds.
The cost guidance has been reduced to reflect the higher production guidance. All-in sustaining costs are forecast to be in the $780/oz to $840/oz range.
Dundee also owns the Tsumeb copper smelter in Namibia and interests in a number of developing gold and exploration properties located in Bulgaria, Serbia, Armenia and Canada, including the Krumovgrad gold project, which started construction in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Dundee reported that the Krumovgrad project remained on track to start production in the fourth quarter of next year.