May 10 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) on Monday said its first-quarter profit soared on higher copper prices.
The Canadian copper and gold miner, which focuses on Africa, earned $181 million, or $1.70 a share, in the quarter ended March 31. That compared with a profit of $21.5 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-before period.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected, on average, a profit of $2.53 a share, before exceptional items.
Revenue more than doubled to $562.8 million
The company produced 85,062 tons of copper and realized copper price of $2.89 per pound, up from $1.51 a year ago..
The company said estimated production for 2010 is 385,000 tons of copper and 220,000 ounces of gold.
First Quantum operates four mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Mauritania.
The company stopped construction of its Kolwezi copper-cobalt project in DRC in September after authorities withdrew the license for the project as part of a review of more than 60 mining contracts in the country.
However, First Quantum closed its acquisition of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Australia earlier this year and said in December it plans to build the Kevitsa nickel and copper mine in Finland.
Those moves will turn the company into a notable nickel producer over the next few years.