TSX- and LSE-listed First Quantum Minerals on Thursday reported a decrease in full-year output, with copper production amounting to 322 700 t and gold output to 191 400 oz.

In 2009, the company produced 373 940 t of copper and 193 288 oz of gold and initially anticipated producing 385 000 t of copper and 240 000 oz of gold in 2010.

But First Quantum slashed its 2010 production guidance in November to 322 000 t of copper and 195 000 oz of gold.

The lower output was the result of the closure of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Frontier copper mine, a four-day shutdown of the sulphide circuit at the Kansanshi copper mine, in Zambia, and abnormally wet weather at Guelb Moghrein copper mine, in Mauritania.

However, the company said that copper production was in line with its latest guidance and reflected new monthly and quarterly records at the Kansanshi operation.

First Quantum produced 75 600 t of copper and 48 600 oz of gold in the fourth quarter.

The finished copper inventory as at December 31, decreased to about 36 700 t of copper, with Kansanshi producing 27 200 t, the Frontier operation producing 1 200 t and Guelb Moghrein producing 8 300 t, from the September 30 level of 37 000 t.

First Quantum’s operating report and financial results for 2010 would be released in March.

The company had reported a net loss of $136,7-million in the third quarter of 2010, mainly as a result of the forced closure of its Frontier mine.

The loss was compared with net earnings of $123,8-million recorded in the third quarter of 2009.

In August, the base-metals miner announced that the DRC mining registry had withdrawn the Frontier deposit's exploitation permit and that the DRC government-owned company Sodimico had been granted the titles at the Frontier deposit.


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