HomeBase MetalsFirst Quantum copper production up 24%

First Quantum copper production up 24%

Aerial view of the
Kansanshi mine, in
north-west Zambia
Vancouver, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 February, 2008   – Toronto and London Stock Exchange-listed First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FQM) – a mineral exploration, development and mining company which claims to be one of the fastest growing copper producers in the world – posted an impressive 24% increase in copper production in 2007, and is forecasting growth of a further 37% in 2008.

A news release issued here ahead of its 2007 results presentation, confirms that FQM’s 2007 copper production amounted to 226 693 tonnes – a 24% increase over the company’s 2006 performance. Copper production in the fourth quarter of 2007 alone was a record 72 746 tonnes, and the forecast for 2008 copper production is 310,000 tonnes.

Major contributor in 2007 was the Kansanshi mine in north-western Zambia with 163 824 tonnes amounting to more than 70% of overall production. A 10% increase to 181 000 tonnes is expected this year.

The Frontier mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) produced only 8 712 tonnes last year – all of this in the final quarter when production began. This year, with four full quarters of production, output is expected to experience a dramatic nine-fold increase to 84 000 tonnes.

FQM’s Guelb Moghrein mine in Mauritania is expected to boost output by almost 15% from 28 755 to 33 000 tonnes, while the Bwana Makubwa operation in Zambia is set to record a drop of more than 50% from 25 402 to 12 000 tonnes.

FQM chairman and CEO Philip Pascall commented: “We are very pleased with the fourth quarter 2007 production results. The Kansanshi mine continues to show quarterly production volume growth which is expected to continue into 2008,” he added, “the Frontier mine startup has performed in line with expectations, and production should continue to improve into 2008 as the mine reaches steady state production levels. Overall we expect to see approximately 37% production growth in 2008 over 2007 levels," Pascall confirmed.

More detailed information on FQM’s performance are due to be published in the company’s year-end operating and financial results later this week on 21 February.