First Quantum to stick to production schedule for Cobre Panama

LONDON, March 22 Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:49am EDT

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LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd expects Cobre Panama - the giant copper deposit it will own as a result of its takeover of Inmet Mining - to begin producing on schedule, despite a hiatus as the project is reviewed, the miner said on Friday.

First Quantum has long said it believes it can improve development of the $6.2 billion Cobre Panama project, one of the largest untapped copper deposits in the world but also currently one of the most expensive.

First Quantum President Clive Newall told Reuters the company would need a period of "several months" to assess the project before it can establish cost cuts and how it can rein in spending.

"There will be a hiatus of three to six months - whatever it takes to do a comprehensive reassessment and renegotiations where required - but our build time will be much shorter," Newall told Reuters.

"We have a two-year construction phase (at) our projects, so we will be able to stick pretty closely to Inmet's schedule, which was for commissioning at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017."

Earlier on Friday, First Quantum said it had secured enough shareholder support to take over Inmet, sealing a C$5.1 billion deal.

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