The Cobre Panama copper and gold mine – one of Panama’s biggest ever investments – is making good progress following last year’s Covid-19-related production interruptions, Canadian miner First Quantum reported on Tuesday.
The mine produced 81 868 t of copper and 36 290 oz of gold in the second quarter, a respective near-record and record performance for the operation.
“The second quarter saw continued strong operational and financial performance. 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 achieving 100-million tonnes per annum,” said chairperson and CEO Philip Pascall.
First Quantum increased its Cobre Panama’s guidance range to between 310 000 t and 335 000 t, compared with its previous target of 300 000 t to 330 000 t, and added about 5 000 oz to the gold guidance to between 125 000 oz and 135 000 oz.
The group’s copper and gold production guidance ranges, however, remained unchanged as the copper guidance for Kansanshi, in Zambia, has been reduced by 10 000 t to a range of 200 000 t to 215 000 t and the gold guidance by 5 000 oz to between 115 000 oz and 125 000 oz.
First Quantum is set to produce between 785 000 t and 850 000 t of copper, between 280 000 oz and 300 000 oz of gold and between 20 t and 24 t of nickel this year.
Total copper production in the second quarter was 199 689 t, an increase of 18% from the second-quarter of 2020, and copper sales volumes increased by 27% relative to the same quarter las year.
Copper production cash costs of $1.29/lb and all-in sustaining costs of $1.91/lb were higher than a year earlier, owing to lower production at Zambian operations and the cessation of openpit mining at Las Cruces, in August 2020.
The group realised a 37% increase in second-quarter copper prices of $3.55/lb, which reflected the hedge profile that was in place in the quarter.
Total gold production for the quarter was 81 375 oz, a 49% increase from the same period in 2020.