First Quantum Minerals has recorded a 2,180 decrease in its copper production at its Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi for the second quarter of 2022.
Kansanshi’s copper production was 39,719 tonnes, while the company’s copper production at its Sentinel mine in Kalumbila of 52,447 tonnes was on target. Combined production from the two mines was lower than the previous quarter.
FQM’s Chief Executive Officer, Tristan Pascall has explained that the results at the company’s Kansanshi mine were affected by lower feed grades caused by current mining conditions, and that after an extended rainy season, higher than anticipated water levels restricted mining deployment, which required supplementary plant feed from a low grade stockpiles.
“Water from this area is expected to be removed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, which will provide access to the scheduled oxide and mixed or,” he said.
FQM’s Sentinel’s mine in Kalumbila production of ore and waste remained behind the planned schedule in the second quarter of 2022, although progress had been made on preparing the pit for an improved second half of the year. Low truck availability and a backlog of truck maintenance continued from the first quarter. This was a direct impact of labour restrictions and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now subsiding, he continued.
Extensive work has been conducted on a new geological approach to narrower and lower mineralised veins that comprise around 20 percent of the sulphide ores at Kansanshi, which is expected to improve optimisation of the mine plan in the near term. Kansanshi is tracking towards the lower end of the guidance range of 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes.
Grades at Sentinel are expected to return to planned levels over the coming months with an improved grade profile in the second half of 2022 compared to the first six months, resulting in improved production levels over the course of the year. Full year production at Sentinel is tracking towards the lower end of the guidance range of 250,000 to 265,000 tonnes of copper.
“While the restrictions from the global pandemic have largely eased, the macro environment has become more challenging due to a combination of continued high inflation and the emerging global economic slowdown.
Our debt reduction over the last several years has placed our balance sheet in a better position for this turn of events. In order to build further resilience through these uncertain times, our focus will be on driving consistent operational performance, successful execution of our brownfield projects and discipline with our capital investments,” said Pascall.
“It is the determination and commitment of our workforce that has enabled us to surmount the unprecedented obstacles that we have faced in recent years and means that we can tackle these new challenges with confidence. I thank the team for their continued commitment and efforts.”
During the second quarter, the company reached an agreement with the Government of Zambia for repayment of the outstanding VAT claims based on offsets against future corporate income tax and mineral royalty tax payments, which commenced July 1, 2022.