Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

First Quantum has reduced its estimated copper production in 2020 by 75,000mt to 755,000-805,000mt. 


The company cited the reduction at its Cobre Panama mine, which was part of its response to COVID-19, as one of the reasons for the lower production outlook.


The company noted its nickel production outlook is unchanged at 15,000-20,000mt for the year. First Quantum also said it plans to proceed with its tailings management project at the Cobre Panama mine, and it has provisions in its financial outlook for the expense once operations resume at the mine.


In Q1 2020, copper production at First Quantum increased by 45pc to 195,285mt from 136,969mt during the same period last year, with Cobre Panama contributing 56,240mt to the total copper output. The company noted the mine’s production was initially affected by unplanned downtime, followed by the COVID-19 restrictions it imposed after an employee tested positive for the virus.


The company’s Kansanshi and Las Cruces mines, however, achieved higher copper production compared to Q1 2019, whereas its Sentinel mine’s record throughput was offset by a 2pc decline in overall production due to the recovery of lower grade ores during the quarter. First Quantum’s copper smelter in Kansanshi processed 329,000dmt of copper concentrate and produced 80,280mt of copper anode, and 315,000mt of sulphuric acid in Q1 2020


Construction work at Ravensthorpe, the company’s nickel mine, continued as planned in March, the company indicated.


First Quantum sold 189,953mt of copper during the quarter, an increase from 130,262mt sold in Q1 2019. The company’s sales were boosted by the Cobre Panama mine’s volumes in the first three months of the year, and it sold $1.1bn worth of the metal in Q1 2020, a 38pc increase from $857mn during the same period last year. Its realized price for the material, however, declined by 8pc to $2.56/lb, mainly due to price decreases on the LME during the period.


First Quantum reported a loss of $62mn in Q1 2020 compared with a profit of $53mn during the same quarter a year ago. However, its comparative EBITDA increased to $434mn in Q1 2020 from $368mn in Q1 2019.

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