First Quantum to speed up construction of world's largest undeveloped copper deposit in Panama

First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM)(LON:FQM) will build a concentrator plant at its Panama-based massive copper project next year in an effort to speed up the construction of the mine,  CEO Stephen Botts told BNamericas Friday.

The Vancouver-based firm also said it will announce a revised investment figure and timeline for its $6.2 billion copper-gold porphyry Cobre Panama mine before the end of 2013.

First Quantum postponed the project, considered the world's largest undeveloped copper deposit, after its $5.1 billion takeover of fellow Canadian Inmet earlier this year.

The mine is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper a year worth around $1.1 billion at current prices. Once in operations it will become the largest mining project ever undertaken in Central America.

First Quantum holds extensive copper, nickel and gold assets throughout Africa and Australia, while Inmet used to mine copper and zinc in Turkey, Spain and Finland.

The newly merged company projects a 1.3 million tonnes of copper output per year by 2018.

Image by Scott Ableman