First Quantum expects to spend $6.4 bln on Cobre Panama project

Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:05am EST

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Jan 28 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd said it expects to incur development costs of $6.4 billion for its Cobre Panama copper project in Central America, as the Canadian miner unveiled its revised capital cost estimate for its key project after a month's delay.

Vancouver-based First Quantum, which bought the huge copper project in Panama via its C$5.1 billion ($4.8 billion) takeover of rival Inmet Mining last year, had promised to outline a revised estimate and schedule before the end of 2013.

However, in December, the company delayed releasing its cost estimate and project schedule, saying it had to "correct a number of acquired technical and logistical shortcomings."

The revised project will now have an installed capacity of about 70 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) for the first 10 years, about 17 percent higher than the Inmet plan.

The project will be expanded up to 100 Mtpa beyond year 10, the company said, while estimating the mine life to be 34 years.

The miner also signed a $2.5 billion five-year term loan and revolving facility with its banks to primarily support its capital program.

First Quantum, which owns mines and projects across South America, Africa, Europe and Australia, is poised to become one of the world's largest copper producers over the next five years, as a number of its projects including Cobre Panama begin production.

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