Bulgarian mine to receive funding for an IoT-based telecommunications system

Automation & RoboticsBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2017

Bulgarian mine to receive funding for an IoT-based telecommunications system

The Krumovgrad gold and silver mine in the south-eastern part of Bulgaria is to receive financing by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the development of an advanced telecommunications system based on the Internet of Things. The project includes the implementation of equipment which can send, receive and analyse data to optimise costs and manage risks in the exploitation of the mine.

The investment will also allow an integrated waste-management facility to be built, with a high level of waste reuse and recycling, and a state-of-the art flotation process for ore processing and metal recovery. The mine is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

EBRD is investing approximately 32,7 million US dollars in the development of the Krumovgrad open pit mining project, acquiring up to a 9,99 per cent equity stake in the project developer Dundee Precious Metals. The Bank has been supporting the company’s operations in the country, investing in the implementation of best practices and highest industrial standards in the sector.

Dundee Precious Metals is an international investor company, specialized in gold and copper mining and processing. It launched its business in Bulgaria in 2013 with the acquisition of the Chelopech gold mine. Now the company is planning to expand its activities in the country with the investment of 184 million in the Krumovgrad gold and silver mine. The innovative project will enhance the efficiency and safety of the mining operations.

“Dundee Precious Metals is a longstanding partner of the EBRD in Bulgaria. By becoming its shareholder we are taking our cooperation to the next level. This ever-closer partnership will enable us to work together to further raise standards in the mining sector, focusing on innovation, sustainability and employment opportunities”, Eric Rasmussen, EBRD Director for Natural Resources, said.

“We are very pleased to be building on our existing partnership with the EBRD. We view this strategic investment as a strong endorsement of our Krumovgrad project and the environmental and social responsibility practices at our operations. Our board and senior management team look forward to the EBRD’s continued support as we explore opportunities to grow our business and advance our Krumovgrad project toward commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2018", commented Rick Howes, President and CEO of Dundee Precious Metals.

“Mining, quarrying and metal processing are key sectors of the Bulgarian economy. They account for around 20 per cent of the value of annual industrial output and 12 per cent of yearly exports. The mining and quarrying sector directly employs approximately 26,000 people and is a significant source of employment through related industries”, a report by the EBRD states.

As a shareholder of Dundee Precious Metals, the Bank is to cooperate with the company aiming to promote partnerships with local colleges and universities in order to promote sustainable mining in Bulgaria. EBRD plans to to introduce apprenticeship programmes and to encourage young people to look for professional realization in the field of mining. Another goal of the collaboration is to promote employment and training opportunities for women in this traditionally male-dominated sector, EBRD announced.

“Supporting foreign investors who bring technological innovation to the economy and provide employment, especially in regions that need an economic boost, is a priority for the EBRD in Bulgaria”, the Bank, which is one of the largest institutional investors in Bulgaria, stated on its website.

It In 2016 it has invested 620 million euro in the Bulgarian economy. Up to today, EBRD has invested over 3,4 billion euro in more than 230 projects in the country, 80 per cent of the investments in the country are in the private sector. The Bank announced it will aim to keep the level of investment in the country at about 200 million euro per year in response to local demand.