April 30, 2012 / 1:42 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Dundee Precious Metals to cut Namibian smelter feed

* Asked to reduce feed following an audit by environment ministry

* Co asked to advance sulphuric acid plant installation to 2013 from 2014

* Shares fall as much as 15 pct

April 30 (Reuters) - Canada’s Dundee Precious Metals Inc said the Namibian government asked it to reduce feed to its Tsumeb smelter by about half following an environmental audit.

The gold miner said the environment ministry asked it to cut the feed, effective May 1, until projects designed to capture fugitive emissions have been completed in the second half of the year.

Fugitive emissions are gases or vapors released from pressurized equipment due to leaks.

The Tsumeb smelter, operated by a unit of the company, is a concentrate processing facility in the South African country.

Dundee Precious Metals, which also operates a gold mine in Armenia, said it will develop a plan to minimize the impact of emissions on the health of its workers and the locals.

“We have spent over $40 million on the smelter in the two years we have owned it and are aware of the challenges that continue to exist there,” Chief Executive Jonathan Goodman said in a statement.

The company, which holds interests in a number of developing gold properties in Bulgaria, Serbia and northern Canada, has also been told to advance the installation of the sulphuric acid plant to 2013 from 2014.

Shares of the company, which has a market value of C$1.08 billion, fell 15 percent to C$7.30 on Monday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock was one of the top percentage losers on the exchange.

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