HomeBase MetalsFirst Quantum copper production drops 15%

First Quantum copper production drops 15%

Part of the conveyor
system at Kansanshi
copper mine
Lusaka, Zambia —MININGREVIEW.COM — 13 August 2009 – First Quantum Minerals (FQM) “’ a company focused on mineral exploration, development and mining in Africa “’ has announced that copper output at its Kansanshi mine in north-western Zambia fell 15% to 45 073 tonnes in the six months to June 2009, from 52,952 tonnes in the same period last year.

The company revealed in a statement seen by Reuters that mining operations had not been able to access some oxide areas at Kansanshi until May this year, and that this had resulted in reduced output.

“The processing of lower grade oxide ore, which led to lower copper cathode production, was due to excess groundwater during the rainy season,” the statement added. “With the effects of the rainy season and excess groundwater subsiding towards the end of the second quarter, access to the higher ore grades in the mine pit had improved.”

FQM plans to boost copper output at Kansanshi mine to 244 000 tonnes this year from 215 000 tonnes in 2008.

The company also announced a drop in operating profit at Kansanshi due to lower copper prices.

Kansanshi made operating profit of about US$127 million (just over R1 billion) for the three months ending 30 June 2009, down from US$244 million (R1.9 billion) over the same period last year. Over the first six months of 2009, operating profit had dropped to US$181 million (R1.5 billion), from last year’s US$532 million (R4.2 billion), the statement said.

It added that the Bwana Mkubwa operation, which is under care and maintenance, may re-open if economically suitable feed could be arranged.

FQM also revealed that gold production had improved, primarily due to the increase in copper in concentrate production, with the gravity recovery unit also contributing about 3 500 ounces of gold production.