Quantum opens two new mines

In its first year of operation, Perth-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd has commissioned two new mines in Cen-tral Africa and placed its Likasi copper-cobalt tailings project in the Shaba province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into mothballs.

Early last year, the company began mining its 95 per cent-held Connemara gold mine in Zimbabwe and shortly afterwards commissioned its 100 per cent-owned Bwana Mkubwa copper mine in Zambia.

By the fourth quarter, gold output increased to realise 4,336 ounces at a cash cost of US$149/oz, registering a gross profit of US$0.61 million.

Production is now forecast to exceed 2,000oz per month.

Bwana Mkubwa produced 5,220,600 pounds (2,373 tonnes) of copper cathodes and 18,739 tonnes of surplus sulphuric acid, at an operating cash cost inclusive of acid credits averaging US27 cents per pound of copper, making Bwana Mkubwa one of the lowest cost copper producers in the world.

According to First Quantum chairman Philip Pascall, exploration is now focused on areas surrounding the company’s two producing mines and very promising new areas around Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

First Quantum also has near-term tailings retreatment and hard rock copper, cobalt and silver development projects in the DRC.

The company’s proposed $52 million Likasi project – in which it can earn 51 per cent equity with Gecamines, the DRC’s state-owned mining company – has been placed in mothballs since banks withdrew financial backing for the project due to “high security risks”.

This includes the civil war in the eastern DRC that has now spilled over to areas close to the mining operations.


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WA export revenue

24th↑Western Areas$214.0m
25th↓Mount Gibson Iron$214.0m
26th↓First Quantum Minerals$195.0m
27th↑Simcoa OperationsNFP
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