PANAMA – First Quantum Minerals of Vancouver has released information about key changes it wants to make to the Cobre Panama copper project since taking control of former owner Inmet Mining. The project will produce its first concentrate in late 2017.
The annual throughput of the revised project will be 70 million tonnes for the first 10 years. That is 17% above the rate envisioned by Inmet. Expansion to 100 million t/y beyond that time may be possible.
Cobre Panama production will average 320,000 t/y of copper over the life of the mine, about 20% higher than Inmet planned. The project will also produce 100,000 oz of gold, 1.8 million oz of silver, and 3,500 tonnes of molybdenum annually. The life of the open pit mine is estimated to be 34 years.
Pre-production capital expenses are estimated to total US$6.425 billion, a number that includes all moneys spent on the project thus far. Almost half the capex (US$3.034 billion) will be used to develop the mine, port and infrastructure. There are also a US$664 million power plant and US$1.739 billion mineral processing plant to be built. Owners cost is pegged at US$567 million, and a contingency of US$421 million is included.
First Quantum has also revised the resource estimate. It now says the deposit has 3.271 billion measured and indicated resources. The average copper grade mined will be 0.5% Cu for the first 10 years and 0.37% for the remaining mine life.
Details of the Cobre Panama reserves and estimates are available at First-Quantum.com.