240 km North of LUSAKA
Commodities: Cobalt, Copper
April 24, 2002
AIM-listed First Quantum Minerals might be reducing its stake in the troubled Mopani underground copper mine, but it certainly hasn't given up on Zambia and believes that the Zambian copper belt remains largely untapped, reports theminingweb.com. Theminingweb.com reports Clive Newell, the company's chief executive, as saying that the expansion of First Quantum's wholly-owned Bwana Mkubwa mine in Zambia will be completed by August, which should quickly move annual copper output there up from 10,000 to 30,000 tons, at an estimated cost of only 30 cents a pound, net of credits, among the world's lowest. Earlier this week, Quantum announced that it had finalized a restructured agreement with privately-owned Swiss-based trading group Glencore to reduce its interest in Carlisa Investments Corp. whose principal asset is a 90% interest in Mopani Copper Mines in exchange for releasing the the company from any ongoing commitment to provide funding to Mopani, including an obligation to repay USD21.84 million.
April 22, 2002
First Quantum Minerals has posted a USD20.98 million loss on revenues of USD138.12 million, including writedowns of USD10.61 million, for the year ended November 30, 2001. The company produced 50,411 tonnes at an average cash cost of USD0.64 per pound of copper. The average realized copper price for 2001 was 82 cents per pound compared with an average LME copper price of 72 cents for the year. Also, First Quantum reported that Mopani Copper Mines (44% owned) contributed a loss of USD8.54 million to the company's financial performance. Reduced ore production and high unit costs, caused by operating inefficiencies in combination with weakening cobalt prices resulted in Mopani contributing USD1.48 million in operating loss before noncash items. Quantum Minerals expects Mopani to make another loss this year but will return to profitability in 2003. Quantum also announced that it has finalized a restructured agreement with privately-owned Swiss-based trading group Glencore which will result in a reduction in the company's effective interest in Carlisa Investments Corp. whose principal asset is a 90% interest in Mopani Copper Mines and release the company from any ongoing commitment to provide funding to Mopani, including an obligation to repay USD21.84 million. First Quantum will dilute its interest in Carlisa from 49% to 18.8%, which will result in First Quantum's effective interest in Mopani reducing from 44% to 16.9%. First Quantum's representation on Mopani's board of directors will also be reduced to two directors.