LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – First Quantum Minerals has recorded a 39 per cent increase in production at its Sentinel mine in the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same period of last year.
While the company’s Kansanshi smelter at Solwezi exceeded its target for the quarter, with 350,591 tonnes of concentrate processed.
The mining firm has also reported comparative earnings of US$49 million, even after a US$121 million loss realised under a programme to hedge copper sales, for which no tax credit is available.
“We are pleased with the quarter’s results in all aspects of the company. The solid performances at our Zambian operations are of particular note considering the severity of the seasonal rains,” noted FQM Chairman and CEO Philip Pascall, after the company released its first quarter 2018 financial and operating results on Thursday.
In executing several proactive measures to strengthen the balance sheet and improve liquidity, the global mining company FQM ended the quarter with US$810 million in net unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, US$1,670 million of committed undrawn facilities and in full compliance with all financial covenants.
The mining firm has also put in place a new US$400 million five-year term facility agreement in the subsidiary that owns the Sentinel mine. Repayments are scheduled to start in December 2019.
The mining firm also completed a US$1.85 billion senior note programme, which will be used to repay an existing term loan facility, the outstanding balance on a revolving credit debt facility, fees associated with the offering and for general corporate purposes.
“With the reduction in our copper forward sales contracts, the value of maintaining our capital investment programme through a challenging economic environment is becoming more visible. The significant turnaround in our financial results from a year ago is indicative of First Quantum’s enhanced earnings and cash generating capability. This is expected to grow substantially when Cobre Panama begins commercial operations,” said Mr Pascall, referring to the company’s massive US$5.48 billion Cobre Project in Panama, which will become one of the largest copper mines in the world.
“While we had several successes in the quarter, we also had a few challenges. Such occurrences are not unexpected in the resource industry with the onset of improved commodity prices and sentiment. While this can be momentarily distracting, these matters do get resolved through open discussion and transparency which we are committed to,” Mr. Pascall concluded.
About First Quantum Minerals Ltd
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold, nickel and zinc. The company’s assets are located in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2017, First Quantum produced 573,963 tonnes of copper, 199,736 ounces of gold and 17,837 tonnes of nickel.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine – the largest copper mine in Africa – and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Lusaka and Toronto stock exchanges.
Source: LANGMEAD & BAKER