FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) Limited has posted record-breaking copper production of 779,000 metric tonnes in 2020, mainly boosted by its Kalumbila-based Sentinel Copper Mine, whose output soared to 251,000 tonnes.
And the Canadian miner’s capital expenditure is projected to hit around US $950 million this year and in 2022, which includes US $40m in each year on the smelter expansion at Kansanshi Mining Plc in Solwezi.
In a statement announcing its 2020 preliminary results, FQM, majority shareholders in Kansanshi and Kalumbila Minerals, posted a total of 779,000 tonnes of copper last year, up from around 702,148 tonnes in 2019, representing a third successive increase since 2018 when the mining giant produced 605,853 tonnes in 2018.
According to the company’s data, the Sentinel Copper Mine, operated by its subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML), produced the highest copper output, surpassing Kansanshi’s 221,000 tonnes for the first time since going operational.
“The company achieved its highest-ever annual copper production of 779kt, an 11 per cent increase from 2019, attributable to record-breaking production at Sentinel and the resilience of other operations, particularly Cobre Panama, in dealing with the significant challenges brought about by COVID-19 during the year. 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, reflecting a significant increase in throughput to 57 million tonnes for the year. Copper production in Q4 2020 of 63kt was an increase of 24 per cent from Q4 2019 resulting from the continued higher throughput and favourable grades,” FQM stated in a news release.
And it revealed that capital expenditure was projected to hit around US $950 million over the two-year period ending December 31, 2022, which includes US $40m in each year on the smelter expansion at Kansanshi.
“Capital spending in 2020 was approximately US $50m lower than the previously issued guidance of US $675m. Capital expenditure of US $950m is expected in 2021 and 2022, which includes US $40m in each year on the smelter expansion at Kansanshi. 2021 and 2022 also includes a total of approximately US $100m in capital expenditures deferred from 2020. In 2023, capital expenditure is expected to be US $1,050m and includes US $270m for the proposed S3 expansion at Kansanshi. This project is subject to board approval and the timing could be accelerated or delayed depending on capital availability, commodity prices and the Zambian fiscal regime,” stated FQM.