Dundee Precious Metals Inc. (TSX: DPM) has extended its life of mine plan in Bulgaria by eight years after proving and estimating 1.6 million ounces of gold and 312 million pounds of copper in reserves.
The company announced the estimates on Friday for its Chelopech Mine and provided an updated mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate.
Dundee successfully replenished around half of its 2022 production depletion of 2.1 million tonnes by adding approximately 1.1 million tonnes to its mineral reserves. The measured and indicated mineral resource base has also grown, with 1.3 million ounces of gold and 281 million pounds of copper in total. There is further potential to extend the mine’s life with these resources.
“The updated mineral reserve estimate demonstrates our consistent track record of replacing mineral reserves at Chelopech,” Dundee CEO David Rae said.
“With mining now expected to extend into 2031, a strong Mineral Resource base and increased in-mine and brownfield exploration drilling, we believe there is strong potential for this trend to continue at Chelopech.”
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Moreover, there is additional potential through in-mine and brownfield exploration, with a significant drilling program planned for 2023. This program will be focused on infill drilling at the Sharlo Dere prospect and conceptual targets on the mine concession and Brevene exploration license.
The 2022 Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimate has been updated using a net smelter return equation, which takes into account factors such as metal price, metallurgical recoveries, treatment charges, and market forecasts to determine profitability.
As a result of this update, the proven and probable mineral reserves at Chelopech now stand at 1.55 million ounces of gold and 311.5 million pounds of copper, supporting a mine life of nine years that extends to 2031.
This estimate does not include the expected further conversions of existing Mineral Resources or potential additional exploration success, which could further extend the mine’s life.
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Dundee Precious actively working to extend Chelopech Mine life
Dundee Precious is actively working to extend the mine life of Chelopech through its successful in-mine exploration program and a growing brownfield exploration program. The company plans to conduct approximately 44,000 meters of in-mine drilling and 50,000 meters of brownfield exploration in 2023.
The brownfield exploration program will test conceptual targets on the Brevene exploration license and the Chelopech mine concession. An infill drilling program is also planned for Sharlo Dere to support its inclusion in subsequent Mineral Resource estimates.
The company has filed a “Commercial Discovery” application with the Bulgarian authorities for the Sveta Petka exploration license and plans to apply for concession rights in 2024.
DPM has budgeted between $5 million to $6 million for in-mine exploration activities and $5 million to $6 million for brownfield exploration activities in 2023. These efforts demonstrate DPM’s commitment to extending the life of Chelopech and maximizing the potential of the mine’s resources.