Canadian Mining Journal


First Quantum copper output hits record

First Quantum Minerals achieved its highest-ever annual copper production of 779,000 tonnes, an 11% increase from 2019.

The miner reported record-breaking production at Sentinel, in Zambia, and said that its other operations were resilient, particularly Cobre Panama, in Panama, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Copper production in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 203,000 tonnes, in line with that same period in 2019.

Sentinel achieved record copper production of 251,000 tonnes for the full year, 31,000 tonnes more than 2019. Copper production in the fourth quarter of 2020 of 63,000 tonnes was an increase of 24% from the fourth quarter of 2019 resulting from the continued higher throughput and favourable grades, the company said.

Cobre Panama copper production in the fourth quarter of 2020 of 66,000 tonnes was an increase of 6,000 tonnes from the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia produced 53,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2020, a decline of 8,000 tonnes from the same period in 2019 resulting from the lower grades and oxide recoveries.

First Quantum reported that capital spending in 2020 was about US$50 million lower than the previously issued guidance of US$675 million.

For 2021 and 2022, the company forecasts capital expenditure of US$950 million, which includes US$40 million in each year on the smelter expansion at Kansanshi. For the years 2021 and 2022, First Quantum has also included a total of about US$100 million in capex deferred from 2020.

In 2023, capex is expected to be US$1.05 billion and includes US$270 million for the expansion at Kansanshi. 

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