MINES GO OUT OF THE COLLAPSE
Proceeds into the budget from concessionaire fees paid by the mines in 2004 amount to BGN10,482,000, Deputy Minister of Economy Valentin Parvanov announced. In his words, this is a record high sum, as until now the money was in the range of BGN8-8.5MN. The overfulfilment of projected proceeds from concessions is more than 20% as compared to each of the previous three years.2004 is also a record year regarding the number of closed contracts for concessioning mineral resources - 12 in all. Investments in the mining industry for the period total USD120MN. Leaders in that respect are: Chelopech Mining EAD, with investments of USD10,743,000; Elatsite-Med AD, with USD8,398,000; Caolin AD, with USD3,330,000, and Assarel-Medet AD, with USD2,342,000.The Executive Director of Chelopech Mining Lawrence Marsland cited a more impressive sum - USD25.2MN, specifying that USD15.2MN of it was invested in the processing enterprise in Chelopech, and the balance was invested in the mine. Last year we recalculated the deposits and resources in order to prepare a plan for the mine's exploitation. Deposits were estimated at 24 million tons, Mr. Marsland noted. However, this does not mean that the initially announced exploitation period of 25 years will be extended. The owner of the mine near Chelopech, the Canadian Dundee Precious Metals Inc., is going to invest USD30MN in 2005. USD14MN of this amount is planned for the pit and USD16MN - for the mining company. The capacity expansion will allow for processing 1.5 million tons of ore. For comparison, 650,000 tons were obtained in 2004, of which 45,000 tons of concentrate have been produced. The production results are worse than planned mainly because of the low capacity of the plant, Lawrence Marsland admitted. After it is expanded and the new equipment is put in exploitation, it will be processing some 700-800,000 tons per year.Dundee Precious Metals Inc. completed the technical and economic assessment as well as the geological studies of the Ada Tepe gold field near Krumovgrad. According to its preliminary calculations, USD45MN will be needed for its development. USD10MN is provided for that purpose in 2005.The Canadians were entitled to study the field in September 2003, when they acquired the mine near Chelopech. Initially, the mine was given on concession to the Irish Navan Mining company which was then declared insolvent and forced to sell its Bulgarian companies, including Navan Chelopech. The other excellent player in the mining industry, Elatsite-Copper AD, obtained and processed 29 million tons of ore last year. As a result, it produced 39,000 tons of copper, 1.650 tons of gold, and 5,000 tons of silver. According to Tsolo Voutov, member of the company's Supervisory Board, investments amounted to BGN21MN in 2004 and will not be less in 2005. By the end of the current year Elatsite-Copper AD is planning to produce 40,000 tons of copper, 1.5 tons of gold, and 5,000-6,000 tons of silver.