SMM6, 25 June: the first quantum (First Quantum Minerals Ltd.) said on June 24 that the company had shipped copper concentrate for the first time from its Cobre Panama copper concentrate, which is also the new largest copper mine in the world.
The first ship transported 31000 wet tons of copper concentrate (8000 metal tons of copper). A second freighter carrying 44000 wet tons of copper concentrate (11000 tons of copper) is expected to set sail in the coming days.
First Quantum said 2019 would be a critical year and the company would continue to push ahead with the Cobre Panama copper project, which is expected to commercialize in the fourth quarter of 2019.
At present, the project has proven and potential reserves of 3.1 billion tons, including 11.8 million tons of copper and 7.3 million ounces of gold. The grade of copper is 0.38%, and the contents of gold and silver are 0.07 g / t and 1.3 g / t, respectively. According to current estimates, these reserves can be exploited for as long as 40 years.
The company expects copper production to reach 140000-175000 tons this year, 270000-300000 tons by 2020 and 33-350000 tons by 2021. The company also said it hoped to increase copper production to 375000 tons by improving the copper mine's ability to process ore.
And more than 80% of this year's production is expected to be achieved in the second half of 2019.
In the first quarter of this year, first quantum's revenue was lower than expected and copper production fell 5.8 per cent from a year earlier to 139969 tons.
But Eily Ong, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the expansion of the Cobre Panama copper mine would increase copper production to cope with high cash costs through rising corporate revenue.
However, (ICSG), the international copper research group, estimates that although Cobre Panama mine is already in production and the Toquepala copper project in Peru is being expanded, copper production will remain largely unchanged in 2019.
The group expects the global refined copper gap to be about 190000 tons in 2019 and will increase to about 250000 tons next year.
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