First Quantum has published results revealing its newest mine, Cobre Panama, produced 25 tonnes of milled ore during the first quarter of this year.
The project remains on schedule to deliver between 140,000 and 175,000 tonnes in 2019, with 80% of total output expected to occur in the second half of the year.
First Quantum chairman and CEO Philip Pascall commented:“"It has been gratifying to see the successful start-up of our Cobre Panama project. As ramp-up progresses, Cobre Panama will allow us to deliver on our stated objectives of increased geographic diversification and increased copper production.
We are now realizing the benefits of good design and quality assurance in construction. It is especially rewarding to see our plans for environmental management functioning as intended, and the meaningful partnerships we have built with local communities are already playing an integral role in the operation of Cobre Panama.”
The majority of the company’s production for the first quarter was delivered from the Sentinel copper mine, in Zambia, which produced 57,716 tonnes of copper - a 15% year-on-year increase and a quarterly record for the mine.
Pascal said that the first quarter financial results reflected solid operational performance despite the rainy season in Zambia and lower production from Las Cruces resulting from the land slippage early in the year.
He added: “We expect operational results to improve through 2019 as the ramp-up at Cobre Panama accelerates. In the coming years, we will be able to deliver on our commitment to deleveraging our balance sheet. The refinancing announced earlier in the year was a step towards improving liquidity and pushing out maturities. We will continue this effort throughout the year with further progress expected in 2020 as Cobre Panama starts to meaningfully contribute to cash flow. We will also consolidate work done on our project pipeline to enable future growth."