FQM RANKED 6TH LARGEST COPPER PRODUCER IN THE WORLD
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – First Quantum Minerals (FQM), which operates the Kansanshi and Sentinel mines in North-Western Province, has been ranked the sixth largest copper producer in the world.
The ranking by mining commodities data provider Kitco underscores the mining giant’s continued expansion of its operations in Zambia and globally despite subdued growth in the sector and supply chain disruptions coupled with freight-related constraints in 2021, in part induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world’s largest copper producer, Codelco of Chile, produced some 1.7 million tonnes in 2021, while First Quantum produced 816,000 tonnes.
More than half of FQM’s global copper production during the year was produced in Zambia. Last year’s production was the highest annual copper production in First Quantum’s history, mostly driven by record production at its new Cobre Panama mine and the resilience of operations such as those in Zambia.
The increase in copper output in 2021 represented a 5 percent increase in output from 2020.
FQM’s operations in Zambia at both its Kansanshi and Sentinel mines contributed 435,000 tonnes of copper to the total global output, representing at least 53.3 percent of total output in 2021.
Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi achieved copper production of 202,000 for the full year, 19,000 lower than 2020, reflecting the depleting oxide ore in the maturing mine and that copper production in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 52,000 tonnes, a reduction of 1,000 tonnes from the same period of 2020 because of lower grades and oxide recoveries.
Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila achieved copper production of 233,000 tonnes for the full year, 18,000 tonnes lower than 2020 levels. 2021 performance was impacted by the Train 1 Ball Mill Trunnion failure in the first quarter and a lower grade profile, however, record quarterly throughput of 61,000 tonnes was achieved in the last quarter of 2021.
FQM Country Manager General Kingsley Chinkuli noted that the continued increase in copper production and growth of the company overall was due to the company’s key stakeholders: its host communities and employees.
“Our host communities’ support is and will always be crucial to our operations,” he said. “The FQM family have continued to safely run our operations efficiently and are working hard to improve our operational performance, despite challenging operating conditions from prolonged COVID-19 disruptions.”
Gen. Chinkuli said the mining company had demonstrated a phenomenal ability to keep operating at a time when the sector was faced with uncertainty, and that the company was optimistic of increased copper production as the mining firm plans to invest in additional production facilities to process lower grade ore contingent on a more favourable fiscal regime.
About First Quantum Minerals Ltd
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2021, First Quantum globally produced 816,435 tonnes of copper, 312,492 ounces of gold and 16,818 tonnes of nickel.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine and smelter in Solwezi and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.