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First Quantum Minerals Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results

10/28/2019

(In United States dollars, except where noted otherwise)

TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (“First Quantum” or “the Company”) (TSX:FM) today reported comparative earnings1 of $32 million or $0.05 per share1, net loss1 attributable to shareholders of the Company of $73 million or $0.11 per share after now deducting depreciation and interest charges for Cobre Panama since commercial production and cash flows from operating activities of $151 million or $0.22 per share1, for the three months ended September 30, 2019.

Commercial production declared at Cobre Panama as of September 1, 2019.

“Achieving this important milestone within a mere seven months of first ore through the mills is truly gratifying,” noted Tristan Pascall, General Manager, Cobre Panama.

“From the very beginning in 2013, we sought to build a world-class, state-of-the-art operation that all our stakeholders would be proud of. Through the dedication, focus and hard work of our multi-disciplinary teams, amid at times tough circumstances for our industry, I believe we have delivered an operation that exceeds our initial vision.”

“Cobre Panama is a long-life, high-quality operation that is very quickly becoming a cornerstone asset of First Quantum with the added benefit of further geographic diversity.”

  • Operational Highlights:
    -- Total copper production2 of 192,510 tonnes, a 27% increase from the third quarter of 2018, including 56,221 tonnes of copper production from Cobre Panama of which 19,438 tonnes were deemed commercial.
    -- Total gold production of 70,120 ounces, an increase of 56% from the third quarter of 2018, including 21,484 ounces of gold production from Cobre Panama of which 7,914 ounces were deemed commercial.
    -- Third quarter unit cost of copper production3: All-in sustaining cost (“AISC”) = $1.86 per pound; Cash cost (“C1”) = $1.36 per pound; Total cost (“C3”) = $2.20 per pound including Cobre Panama C1 costs of $1.34 per pound and AISC of $1.56 since commercial production was declared on September 1, 2019.
    -- Safety performance improved in the quarter with the 12-month rolling Lost Time Injury Frequency rate declining to 0.04 per 200,000 hours worked, down from 0.05 in the second quarter of 2019 and 0.06 in the first quarter of 2019.
     
  • Financial Highlights
    -- Sales revenues rose $9 million to $987 million compared to the third quarter of 2018. The increase was driven by an 8% increase in commercial copper sales volumes offset by a lower realized copper price.
    -- Sales revenues resulted from 161,402 tonnes of copper and 55,632 ounces of gold sold4 in the period.
    -- Net loss attributable to shareholders of the Company1 of $73 million or $0.11 per share and comparative earnings1 of $32 million or $0.05 per share. 
    -- Generated $151 million of cash flows from operating activities or $0.22 per share3 during the quarter.
    -- Ended the quarter with $406 million of net unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, $470 million of committed undrawn facilities and was in full compliance with all financial covenants. The Company expects to remain in full compliance throughout the next 12 months.
     
  • Cobre Panama Progress
    -- Production ramp-up continued ahead of expectation allowing for commercial production to be declared one month ahead of expectation.
    -- The fourth and final in-pit primary crusher and three mill trains comprising seven operating mills, including the third and final SAG mill, are all now operational.
    -- Daily process plant throughput during the ramp-up has regularly averaged or exceeded 200,000 tonnes per day, with a peak of 220,000 tonnes per day achieved.
    -- First gold pour occurred in the gold plant.
    -- Tailings management facility cyclone sand plant is operational and placement of first trial sand pads has commenced.  Tailings are now being deposited in all areas of the facility.
    -- Commissioning of the emulsion facility commenced and is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter which should have a positive impact on the drill and blast costs in the mine.
    -- Approximately 83% of the operational workforce is now in place, of which more than 85% are Panamanian.
     
  • Zambia – Changes to the Tax Regime
    -- On September 27, 2019, the Government of the Republic of Zambia announced, as part of the 2020 National Budget, that the previously announced sales tax will no longer be implemented. Instead, the current value-added tax regime will be adjusted.


OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS

  Three months ended
September 30
Nine months ended
September 30
(U.S. dollars where applicable)   2019   2018   2019   2018
 COPPER
 
 -  Total production2 (tonnes)  
 
192,510
 

151,241
  497,878   447,549
  Commercial production (tonnes)   155,727   151,241   430,174   447,549
  Pre-commercial production (tonnes)   36,783   -   67,704   -
 -  Total sales4 volume (tonnes)   203,827   149,877   483,422   440,301
  Commercial sales (tonnes)   161,402   149,877   434,455   440,301
  Pre-commercial sales (tonnes)   42,425   -   48,967   -
                 
 - Cost of production3:                
 o  AISC (per lb)   $1.86   $1.80   $1.80   $1.76
 o  C1 (per lb)   $1.36   $1.31   $1.34   $1.29
 o  C3 (per lb)   $2.20   $2.11   $2.19   $2.13
 -  Realized price (per lb)   $2.62   $2.84   $2.73   $2.85

 GOLD
       
 -  Total production (ounces)   70,120   44,979   179,124   137,375
  Commercial production (ounces)   56,550   44,979   155,004   137,375
  Pre-commercial production (ounces)   13,570   -   24,120   -
 -   Total sales volume (ounces)   71,664   42,864   175,376   139,851
  Commercial sales (ounces)   55,632   42,864   156,717   139,851
  Pre-commercial sales (ounces)   16,032   -   18,659   -
                 

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS 5

  Three months ended
September 30
Nine months ended
September 30
(U.S. dollars millions, except where noted otherwise)   2019   2018   2019   2018
                 
Sales revenues   987   978   2,783   2,912
Gross profit   150   246   531   698
                 
Net earnings (loss) attributable to shareholders of the Company1   (73)   61   58   243
Basic and diluted earnings per share   ($0.11)   $0.09   $0.08   $0.35
                 
Comparative EBITDA1   354   427   1,098   1,256
Comparative earnings1   32   128   214   305
Comparative earnings per share1   $0.05   $0.19   $0.31   $0.44
                 
Cash flow from operating activities    151   439   489   1,642
Cash flow from operating activities per share1   $0.22   $0.64   $0.71   $2.39

1 Net earnings attributable to shareholders of the Company has been adjusted to exclude items which are not reflective of underlying performance to arrive at comparative earnings. Comparative earnings, comparative earnings per share, comparative EBITDA and cash flows per share are not measures recognized under IFRS and do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. The Company has disclosed these measures to assist with the understanding of results and to provide further financial information about the results to investors. Refer to the “Regulatory Disclosures” section in the MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 for further information.
2 Production is presented on a copper contained basis and is presented prior to processing through the Kansanshi smelter. Production includes 56,221 tonnes and 87,142 tonnes of production from Cobre Panama for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019.
AISC, C1 and C3 costs per pound are not recognized under IFRS. Refer to the “Regulatory Disclosures” section in the MD&A for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2019 for further information. C1, C3 and AISC costs exclude third-party concentrate purchased at Kansanshi.
Copper sales exclude the sale of copper anode produced from third-party concentrate purchased at Kansanshi. Sales of copper anode attributable to third-party concentrate purchases were 1,182 tonnes for the nine months ended September 30, 2019(1,465 tonnes for the nine months ended September 30, 2018) There were no sales of copper anode attributable to third-party concentrate purchases for the three months to September 30, 2019(1,465 tonnes for the three months ended September 30, 2018)
Pre-commercial production operating results attributable to Cobre Panama are capitalized and excluded from earnings.

CONFERENCE CALL & WEBCAST

Conference call and webcast details are as follows:
   
Date:  October 29, 2019
Time: 9:00 am (EDT); 1:00 pm (GMT); 6:00 am (PDT)
Webcast: www.first-quantum.com
   
Dial in: North America (toll free): (877) 291-4570 
  North America and international: (647) 788-4919
   
Replay: Available from noon (EDT) on October 29, 2019 until 11:59 pm (EST) on November 20, 2019
  North America (toll free): (800) 585-8367
  North America and international: (416) 621-4642
   
Passcode: 7902779
   

COMPLETE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

The complete consolidated financial statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the three and nine ended September 30, 2019 are available at www.first-quantum.com and should be read in conjunction with this news release.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.                
G. Clive Newall
President

For further information visit our website at www.first-quantum.com

North American contact: Lisa Doddridge, Director, Investor Relations
Tel: (416) 361-3752 Toll free: 1 (888) 688-6577
United Kingdom contact: Clive Newall, President
Tel: +44 7802 721663
E-Mail: info@fqml.com

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

Certain statements and information herein, including all statements that are not historical facts, contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements include estimates, forecasts and statements as to the Company’s expectations of production and sales volumes, and expected timing of completion of project development at Enterprise and post completion of construction activity at Cobre Panama and are subject to the impact of ore grades on future production, the potential of production disruptions (including at Cobre Las Cruces as a result of the land slippage in January 2019), capital expenditure and mine production costs, the outcome of mine permitting, other required permitting, the outcome of legal proceedings which involve the Company, information with respect to the future price of copper, gold, silver, nickel, zinc, pyrite, cobalt, iron and sulphuric acid, estimated mineral reserves and mineral resources, First Quantum’s exploration and development program, estimated future expenses, exploration and development capital requirements, the Company’s hedging policy, and goals and strategies. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements or information can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate” or “believes” or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved.

With respect to forward-looking statements and information contained herein, the Company has made numerous assumptions including among other things, assumptions about continuing production at all operating facilities, the price of copper, gold, nickel, zinc, pyrite, cobalt, iron and sulphuric acid, anticipated costs and expenditures and the ability to achieve the Company’s goals. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. These factors include, but are not limited to, future production volumes and costs, the temporary or permanent closure of uneconomic operations, costs for inputs such as oil, power and sulphur, political stability in Zambia, Peru, Mauritania, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Australia, adverse weather conditions in Zambia, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Mauritania and Panama, labour disruptions, potential social and environmental challenges, power supply, mechanical failures, water supply, procurement and delivery of parts and supplies to the operations, and the production of off-spec material.

See the Company’s Annual Information Form for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. Although the Company has attempted to identify factors that would cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those disclosed in the forward-looking statements or information, there may be other factors that cause actual results, performances, achievements or events not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. Also, many of these factors are beyond First Quantum’s control. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. The Company undertakes no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are qualified by this cautionary statement.

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Source: First Quantum Minerals Ltd.