First Quantum doubles quarterly profit

First Quantum Minerals posted a US$455 million profit in the third quarter, the Vancouver-based company reported on Tuesday. That compares with $227 million in earnings in the three months ended December 31, 2009.

Sales of copper in Q3 were down from the same period last year, from 98,171 tonnes in Q3 2009 to 76,290 in the third quarter of 2010. However, the company ended the year with $1.385 billion in its treasury compared to $959 million in the previous year's  Q3.

First Quantum says it will spend $2 billion in exploration and in optimizing its mines over the next four years, with the goal of producing 470,000 tonnes of copper and 55,000 tonnes of nickel in 2015.

Q3 highlights:

  • Record quarterly copper production of 66,232 tonnes at Kansanshi as a result of ongoing circuit optimizations
  • Investment in Equinox Minerals Limited (“Equinox”) shares sold for net proceeds of $646.5 million resulting in a gain of $510.8 million
  • Advanced the development of Ravensthorpe and Kevitsa and exploration at Trident
  • 23% decrease in total copper production resulting from the forced suspension of operations at Frontier and lower ore grades at Guelb Moghrein
  • 23% decrease in total gold production resulting from lower gold grades at Guelb Moghrein and Kansanshi
  • Acquisition of Antares Minerals Inc. (“Antares”) for $609.0 million. Antares‟ principal asset is the 100% owned Haquira project in Peru, one of the world‟s major undeveloped copper deposits
  • Continued strong cash and working capital position notwithstanding significant cash investments in Ravensthorpe, Kevitsa and Trident