First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has recorded solid operational and financial performance in the second quarter of 2021 according to the mining company’s global quarterly results.
This achievement puts the mining giant on course to attaining its targeted gross debt reduction of at least US$2 billion next year.
The mining firm’s total copper production in Q2 was 199,689 tonnes, up 18 percent from Q2 2020. This growth was largely driven by near-record production of 81,686 tonnes at FQM’s Cobre Mine in Panama – which was 276 percent higher than the same period last year.
“We are pleased to see the progress at Cobre Panama as it ramps up to the targeted 85 million tonnes of throughput in 2021. This will position it strongly to build to the longer-term target of 100 million tonnes per annum,” said FQM’s Chairman and CEO, Philip Pascall.
He further said that “Net debt decreased during H1 2021 by US$658 million to US$6.8 billion as at June 30, 2021 – including a US$311 million reduction in the second quarter.”
He explained that with the current strength in copper prices, a significant further debt reduction was expected in the second half of this year.
“The tapering of the hedging programme will further benefit financial results in the remainder of this year. The expected close of the sale of 30 percent stake in Ravensthorpe in Q3 will also contribute to the debt reduction programme. I am proud of how our workforce has continued to focus on executing their duties in a safe and sustainable manner in the face of ongoing logistical and operational challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Pascall said.
He noted that in Zambia, the company had provided testing and medical equipment and helped to construct isolation facilities for surrounding communities.
On-going support by FQM includes the provision of oxygen, consumables, face masks, sanitation stations, transportation of medical supplies, and supporting the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Frequent sensitisation and interaction with the surrounding communities are achieved via multiple communication platforms including radio, print media and roadshows.
Besides increased medical facility resilience initiatives at the mine clinics in Zambia, Mauritania, and Panama, COVID-19 protective measures to minimise person-to-person transmission in the workplace and protect business continuity have been implemented across all operations.