The Guelb Moghrein copper-gold operation is 100% owned by Mauritanian Copper Mines (MCM), a First Quantum subsidiary. The mine is located 250 kilometres northeast of the nation’s capital, Nouakchott, near the town of Akjoujt.
The Guelb Moghrein deposit was first developed in the early 1970s by Anglo American Corporation but was closed in 1977 due to technical difficulties and high fuel prices. First Quantum acquired an 80% interest in the asset in 2004 and achieved commercial production in 2006. In 2010, the Company increased its ownership in Guelb Moghrein to 100%.
In addition to the Guelb Moghrein mining concession, the Company holds five exploration concessions in the area totalling 5,581 square kilometres either directly through MCM SA or since 2011, through Mauritania Exploration SARL a wholly-owned entity.
Mining started in April 2006. Commissioning of the copper flotation plant commenced in July 2006 and commercial production began in October 2006. In October 2009, the mining rate was increased to 3.8 million tonnes of ore per year at a strip ratio of 3:1 (waste to ore). On average, sufficient ore is stockpiled for two to three month’s feed to the plant.
Copper production in 2014 is expected to be between 36,000 and 39,000 tonnes. Gold in copper concentrate production is expected to be between 55,000 and 60,000 ounces.