First Quantum copper output hits record

Operations at Cobre Panama (Image First Quantum)

First Quantum Minerals achieved its highest-ever annual copper production of 779kt, 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 Q4 2020 was 203kt, in line with Q4 2019.

Sentinel achieved record copper production of 251kt for the full year, 31kt more than 2019. Copper production in Q4 2020 of 63kt was an increase of 24% from Q4 2019 resulting from the continued higher throughput and favourable grades, the company said.

Cobre Panama copper production in Q4 2020 of 66kt was an increase of 6kt from Q4 2019.

The Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia produced 53kt in Q4 2020, a decline of 8kt from Q4 2019 resulting from the lower grades and oxide recoveries.

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

For 2021 and 2022, the company forecasts capital expenditure of $950 million, which includes $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 $100 million in capex deferred from 2020.

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

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