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Cobre Panama copper mine on track for 2018 commissioning: First Quantum

http://www.chemnet.com   May 19,2017 Platts
First Quantum Minerals' Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama is on track for phased commissioning in 2018, Mike Christie, the company's global exploration director, said Thursday.

"We are spending around $1 billion on the project this year to keep to our 2018 commissioning schedule for the entire operations," Christie told the Latin America Downunder conference in Perth, Australia.

"All seven mills -- the largest in the world -- and their drives will be installed by mid this year and that's a key outcome for us."

Construction of the project was 50% complete as of last month, with $1.78 billion remaining of total capital expenditure of $5.48 billion.

The company is targeting an ore throughput rate of 60 million mt/year at the mine by December 2018, further ramping up to 75 million mt/year -- producing 320,000 mt/year of copper -- in 2019.

In January, First Quantum issued copper output guidance -- excluding any production from Cobre Panama or from any potential expansion of its Kansanshi mine in Zambia -- of 570,000 mt this year, 600,000 mt in 2018 and 605,000 mt in 2019. Last year the company produced 539,458 mt of copper.

In Christie's presentation, posted on the company's website, First Quantum forecasts its copper production in 2020 at 910,000 mt, including an estimated 300,000 mt of production from Cobre Panama.

The company also has two other Latin American copper projects under development -- in Peru (Haquira) and Argentina (Taca Taca) -- but no preference has yet been given as to which will be developed first.
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