First Quantum swings to fourth-quarter loss

Pit haul truck at Enterprise mine. Credit: First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Copper miner First Quantum Minerals reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Tuesday and said it had struck a $500 million offtake deal with China’s Jiangxi Copper, its largest shareholder.

The miner said it would provide copper anode material from the Kansanshi mine in Zambia to Jiangxi under the three-year prepay arrangement.

It is also evaluating the possibility of minority investments in the Zambian business from strategic investors, the company said.

Total copper production for the fourth quarter was 160,200 tonnes, compared with 206,007 tonnes in the year-ago quarter. Production at the Cobre Panama mine dropped 30.2% to 62,616 tonnes in the reported quarter.

The company has lost over half its value since the open-pit copper mine in Panama, one of the world’s largest, was forced to shut down in November after the country’s top court ruled its contract unconstitutional following nationwide protests against its operation.

The company said it also recorded an impairment charge of $900 million, which includes $854 million at its Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Australia as a result of significant margin pressure due to weak nickel prices and high operating costs.

The company reported a net loss of $1.45 billion, or $2.09 per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $117 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

(By Seher Dareen and Sourasis Bose; Editing by Pooja Desai)

Read More: First Quantum re-shuffles management at Zambian operation


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