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First Quantum spells out aims, challenges at LatAm mining projects

Posted on 2021-01-05

The Toronto-based company is on track with its Cobre Panamá Expansion, Tristan Pascall, who took up the role of COO in January, told the 2020 earnings call.

The investment will boost throughput from 85Mt/y to 100Mt/y, delivering higher production at the US$6.5bn Panamanian copper-gold asset.

“What we see now is we will meet that timetable in terms of delivering that 100Mt/y [throughput], we are confident in delivering that in 2023,” Pascall said.

Monthly ore milled rates at the mine averaged 6.2Mt in the last two months of 2020, and increased to 6.8Mt in January, the COO added.

In 2021, the company has budgeted US$150mn for expansionary capex at the Panama mine, Juliet Wall, general manager, finance, told the call.

This includes advancing development of the tailing’s management facility and sixth ball mill, she added.


First Quantum expects Cobre Panamá to produce 300,000-330,000t copper in 2021, up from 205,548t last year.

Operations were impacted by a COVID-19 suspension in April-July.

Production is forecasted at 310,000-340,000t in 2022 and 330,000-360,000t the following year.

While figures for subsequent years have not been given, the company’s five-year plan at Cobre Panamá indicates some “very high levels” of output post-2023, Pascall told the call.

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