BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) has projected its 2021 copper production to grow above 785,000 tonnes, banking on the resilience of the workforce and adaptability to the new ways of working.
This makes FQM one of the top global copper producers with one of the largest mineral reserve bases, says Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Philip Pascall.
“Our success in overcoming the various challenges the year presented was directly attributable to the dedication and resilience of our workforce and their adaptability to the new way of working,” Mr Pascall told shareholders this week.
Mr Pascall explained that the mining firm’s focus in 2021 would remain on debt reduction to enable it to plan for returns to shareholders and growth.
He explained that FQM’s net debt decreased by US$266 million last year with US$136 million of that reduction coming in quarter four.
On the cashflow, the company recorded US$1.6 billion from operating activities, a US$724 million increase from 2019.
Mr Pascall said the mine would continue to maintain defensive health and sanitary protocols while supporting public health authorities in each jurisdiction as necessary to combat Covid-19.
“We continue to prioritise the health and safety of our workforce and extend all efforts to protect our operations from Covid-19 and help mitigate the spread through the communities.
“I am very proud of the efforts of our entire First Quantum team in this regard. In addition, we recently published our policy on climate change which formalises and further demonstrates our commitment to the environment and reducing emissions across the business,” he said.
Globally the company recorded a gross profit of US$443 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, and US$1.1 billion for the full year.
Total copper production was 203,171 tonnes in the quarter and 778,911 tonnes for the full year with annual production increasing by 14 percent from 2019.
“Sentinel mine had performed exceptionally well and was a big contributor to the record production,” Mr Pascall said.