FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) has announced that it achieved the highest-ever annual copper production at its Sentinel mine in Kalumbila in 2020.
FQM Chairman and CEO Philip Pascall said that positive production was recorded despite unprecedented challenges driven by COVID-19 during the year.
Kalumbila mine in North-Western Province recorded a 14% year-on-year increase in its annual copper production for the year, producing 251,216 tonnes of copper due to a significant increase in annual throughput to 57 million tonnes.
This was announced by the company as reported at a shareholders virtual meeting held this week.
Mr Pascall further said globally the company recorded a gross profit of US$443 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, and US$1.1 billion for the full year.
“Total copper production was 203,171 tonnes in the quarter and 778,911 tonnes for the full year with annual production increasing by 14% from 2019. Sentinel mine had performed exceptionally well and was a big contributor to the record production,” said Mr Pascall.
The CEO also revealed that his company expects its 2021 copper production to grow above 785,000 tonnes.
He added that this would make First Quantum one of the top global copper producers with one of the largest mineral reserve bases.
“Our success in overcoming the various challenges the year presented was directly attributable to the dedication and resilience of our workforce and their adaptability to the new way of working,” he said.
He added that First Quantum’s net debt decreased by US$266 million in 2020 with US$136 million of that reduction coming in quarter four.
On the cashflow front, the company recorded US$1.6 billion from operating activities – a US$724 million increase from 2019 – with US$533 million of cash flows from operating activities generated in the fourth quarter.
Mr Pascall explained that the mining firm’s focus in 2021 would remain on debt reduction to enable it to plan for returns to shareholders and growth.