TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2012) - Dundee Precious Metals Inc. (TSX:DPM)(TSX:DPM.WT)(TSX:DPM.WT.A) ("DPM" or the "Company") has announced that, following completion of the government's report on the environmental, health and safety audit (the "Report") it commissioned, the Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism ("MET") has issued a letter to the Company relating to the operation of its Tsumeb smelter, owned and operated by its subsidiary, Namibia Custom Smelters (Pty) Limited ("NCS"). The Company has not yet had an opportunity to review the Report or discuss the findings with the MET.
Effective May 1, 2012, the MET has instructed NCS to reduce feed to the smelter by approximately half until the projects designed to capture fugitive emissions have been completed. These projects, which form part of NCS' Project 2012 currently underway, will be completed in the second half of the year. The Company is seeking further clarification on the levels the government has outlined, following which it will develop a plan to manage production and related emissions that will have the least impact on the Company and the community during this period. In the interim, NCS will work to bring forward the particular components of Project 2012 that specifically address fugitive emissions and also proceed with its scheduled one-month shutdown of the ausmelt furnace in mid-May for annual re-bricking.
In addition, the Minister has advised NCS to advance the installation of the sulphuric acid plant from 2014 to 2013. On its own initiative, NCS has started work on expediting the acid plant and determined that the fastest schedule possible, from the start of engineering to construction completion, is 26 months. The Company is currently contacting the MET to develop a mutually acceptable schedule within which to complete the plant.
The Minister's letter also contains additional instructions with respect to the occupational health of its workers and the environment which will be addressed in the coming months.
"The health of our workers and care for the environment are extremely important to us as evidenced by the strong relationship we have built with our employees and their representatives. We have spent over US$40 million on the smelter in the two years we have owned it and are aware of the challenges that continue to exist there," said Jonathan Goodman, President and CEO of DPM. "We are pleased to see the government's endorsement of our plan to address the remaining issues and look forward to working with them to bring the smelter up to global environmental standards."
Further information will be provided as soon as it is available.
Dundee Precious Metals Inc. is a well-financed, 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 51.4% owned subsidiary, Avala Resources Ltd., its 47.3% interest in Dunav Resources Ltd. and its 11.5% interest in Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release may contain certain information that constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data, fluctuating metal prices and other factors described above and in the Company's most recent annual information form under the heading "Risk Factors" which has been filed electronically by means of the Canadian Securities Administrators' website located at www.sedar.com. The Company disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.