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Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running

TSX-listed Dundee Precious Metals saw its third consecutive year of record annual gold production in 2021. Its two gold mines in Bulgaria performed better-than-expected in Q4, while processing at the Namibian Tsumeb smelter fell behind guidance.
Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running Dundee hits record high gold output for third year running

Dundee Precious Metals' Tsumeb specialty smelter in Namibia

Nathan Richardson

"Our mining operations continued to deliver impressive performance in the fourth quarter, driven by a new record for quarterly gold production at Ada Tepe, combined with strong results from Chelopech," Dundee's president and CEO David Rae said on January 10. 

The Canada-based miner's consolidated gold production was 310,000oz for 2021, which is at the higher end of the 271,000-317,000oz guidance. This came after production of 82,800oz in Q4. 

Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets analyst Dalton Baretto said the consolidated Q4 production beat Canaccord's forecast of 73,000oz by 13%. 

Baretto said the result was due to higher throughput, grades and recoveries at the central-western Bulgarian Chelopech underground gold-copper mine. 

Chelopech's Q4 gold production was 49,000oz, which took the 2021 total for the operation to 177,000oz. This beat the 156,000-176,000oz guidance, but was down from the 179,000oz achieved in 2020. 

Baretto noted that the Q4 gold production at Chelopech beat Canaccord's forecast of 41,000oz by 21%. 

Chelopech's 2021 copper production was in line with guidance at 34,700 million pounds after production of 9.2Mlbs in Q4. 

Dundee reported that the Southern Bulgarian Ada Tepe mine - which began commercial production in June 2019 - produced 133,000oz of gold in 2021, which compares with guidance of 115,000-141,000oz. Production was 119,000oz in 2020. 

The 2021 total came after Ade Tepe produced 33,800oz in Q4, which was "slightly above plan due to higher grades", Dundee said. 

Ade Tepe's Q4 gold production was in line with Baretto's forecast. 

"The Tsumeb smelter processed approximately 52,000 tonnes of complex concentrate during the fourth quarter, reflecting an 8-day maintenance shutdown to repair a water leak in the offgas system," Dundee said.

The miner noted that this resulted in the smelter processing about 189,700 tonnes of complex concentrate in 2021, which was below revised guidance of 195,000-200,000t. 

Meanwhile, Dundee announced in November that it would supplement its base US$0.03/share quarterly dividend with the repurchase of 152,000 shares at C$7.51/share. 

In aggregate, Dundee repurchased 1,723,800 common shares in 2021 at an average price of C$7.64/share, for a total value of about C$13.2 million, the company said. 

Baretto said the total value implies an incremental C$0.07/share, and together with the base dividend implies a total trailing 12-month yield of 2.9% at the current C$7.33 share price.