First Quantum resumes construction at Cobre Panama, hunts for new deals

First Quantum resumes construction at Cobre Panama, hunts for new deals

Cobre Panama open-pit copper development project. (Image from archives)

First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) (LON:FQM) has resumed construction at its massive US$6.4 billion copper-gold-silver Cobre Panama project, following a labour dispute with some of its construction workers who opposed a new work schedule.

After almost two weeks of negotiations the new roster has been implemented, said the company. It changes shifts to 21 days of work with seven days off, compared to the previous 12 days of work with two days off, it added.

First Quantum, gained control of Cobre Panama last year, after acquiring rival Canadian copper miner Inmet Mining Corp. in a hostile deal worth nearly $5 billion.

Since then it has continued on the lookout for more deals as it sees a supply shortage of the metal by the end of the decade.

Only last month the company bought Lumina Copper Corp. (CVE:LCC) for $430 million to acquire the promising Taca Taca copper deposit in Argentina.

And according to Bloomberg, the miner is now looking for projects that will allow it to return more than 30% average value to shareholders, which it has done since listing in 2000.

“We are certainly not just going to do acquisitions to get bigger,” Clive Newall, president of the Vancouver-based company, told Bloomberg in an interview in London. “We continue to look for opportunities, but the bar is set very high. They have to be the very best projects out there.”

First Quantum, Canada’s biggest pure copper player, has operating mines in Zambia, Mauritania, Finland, Spain, Turkey and Australia.

Cobre Panama, about 120 km west of Panama City, and 20 km from the Caribbean Sea coast, is one of the largest of a slew of massive greenfields copper projects to enter production over the next few years.

573 0