FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 29, 2020
FQM’S SENTINEL MINE ACHIEVES HIGHEST EVER QUARTERLY PRODUCTION
As the mine produces 70,829 tonnes and record low cash costs in Q3
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel mine in Kalumbila achieved its highest ever quarterly production of 70,829 tonnes and record low cash costs in the third quarter of this year, according to its latest results announcement to shareholders.
Increased throughput and higher grades resulted in a 25 percent rise in copper production compared with the same period in 2019, while lower maintenance costs, lower fuel prices and currency depreciation drove improved unit costs.
Globally the mining firm recorded total copper production of 211,396 tonnes in the quarter, 10 percent higher than the same period in 2019, due to record production at both Sentinel and its Cobre Panama mine, said FQM Chairman and CEO, Philip Pascall.
“The third quarter was strong from an operational and financial perspective. Cobre Panama restarted normal operations and was back into full production well ahead of schedule. Almost all of our operations delivered lower costs and a number of new production and cost records were achieved.
He said that almost all of FQM’s copper operations delivered a reduction in cash costs, and total cash costs were at their lowest level in four years.
“We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our workforce as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic that is now the ‘new normal’. Despite all the challenges, our workforce and operations continue to be extremely resilient. This has resulted in a strong operational performance, allowing us to increase our production expectations for the year at slightly improved costs. I am proud of how we continue to navigate this very challenging year while preparing the Company for continued future success,” said Mr Pascall.
He further said that performance at Cobre Panama was strong as it ramped up from preservation and safe maintenance in July to full production levels in August, slightly ahead of expectation, adding that copper production in the quarter was 62,055 tonnes, significantly higher than the same period in 2019.
FQM’s Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi performed consistently during the quarter. Copper production of 54,430 tonnes was slightly lower than the third quarter of 2019 because of reduced grades and recoveries despite increased throughput. Cash costs were lower, driven by currency depreciation and lower fuel costs. The Kansanshi smelter processed 362,554 dry metric tonnes (“DMT”) of copper concentrate, and produced 89,090 tonnes of copper anode with recoveries of 98 percent, together with 342,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid.
The performance was despite the pressures of a tax regime ranked as the least competitive in the world by consulting firm EY, and challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FQM has cautioned that for the company to continue being a major contributor to the Zambian economy, the government needs to put in place an effective and efficient mineral tax regime to attract foreign direct investment, which should seek to adequately compensate the country while remaining internationally attractive and competitive.
About First Quantum Minerals Ltd
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2019, First Quantum globally produced 702,000 tonnes of copper, 257,000 ounces of gold and 18,000 tonnes of zinc.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine – the largest copper mine in Africa by production – and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Lusaka and Toronto stock exchanges.
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