First Quantum Seeks Lower Costs at Quicker Cobre Panama Project

First Quantum Minerals Ltd., a Vancouver-based copper producer, intends to complete its Cobre Panama copper project faster than first planned and at lower cost, according to the company’s operations director.

“There will be a number of significant changes,” Matt Pascall said today in an interview in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. “I’m sure in the end it will be done more quickly than it would have been and also at a lower cost.”

First Quantum announced plans to redesign the Cobre Panama plant and cut its workforce in half, Chief Executive Officer Philip Pascall said at the annual general meeting in May. The company acquired the project from Inmet Mining Corp. in a C$5 billion ($4.8 billion) hostile takeover earlier this year. The asset will help First Quantum become the world’s fifth-largest copper producer.

“We’ve still got to go through the processes of seeing what the cost implications are, what the cost benefits are, what we can save,” Pascall said. The company “is really just redoing a lot of the conceptual work. It’s a relook at the project.”

First Quantum will probably announce a cost estimate for Cobre Panama between August and November this year, CEO Pascall said at the AGM.

The company is looking to increase the mine lives of other Inmet projects that it acquired earlier this year, Operations Director Pascall said.

“Our view is that hopefully we can expand those operations,” he said. “They’re well run and we’d like to see them run longer and bigger. It’s up to our exploration guys to get in there and do their work.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.