First Quantum makes its fortunes by going global – by Russell Noble (Canadian Mining Journal – August 6, 2015)

Russell Noble is the editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Home grown, foreign fed

Head office for First Quantum Minerals is 543 Granville Street, 14th Floor, Vancouver, but like many Canadian mining companies, that’s primarily for administrative purposes where the mail is sent, so to speak, because most of the company’s business is taking place thousands of kilometres away from the corners of Granville and Burrard Streets in downtown Vancouver.

In fact, since July 18, 1996, to be exact, the company has spent almost three decades of its entire existence working far away from its head office and since its well-publicized takeover of Inmet Mining Corporation in 2013, the company now has a sizable representative office on Bay Street in Toronto too. It also gained three operating mines and the Cobre Panama copper project, one of the larger and more important private investments in Panama.

With seven offshore mines producing mainly copper, gold, nickel, zinc and platinum, First Quantum Minerals is probably better known to the people of Africa, Europe and Australia than it is to its fellow Canadians.

But in Canadian mining circles, that’s not unusual because as we all know, many of Canada’s top mining companies are often more active and recognized offshore because of the personal and professional investments they offer to foreign countries.

First Quantum Minerals falls into this category because the company’s mining skills that have helped create entire communities and bolster economies in places where neither existed before their arrival.

On a world scale, First Quantum Minerals is not a massive international firm like empires like Barrick or BHP, but with more than 25,000 employees working in Canada and at its seven operating mines in Zambia, Mauritania, Spain, Finland (2), Turkey and Australia plus at major new development projects in Zambia, Panama, Peru and Argentina, the company is now one of the more geographically diversified companies on the globe.

And it’s thanks to this global outlook that the company is now poised to become one of the top-five copper producers in the world, with a strategic plan to achieve 1.3-million tonnes per year of copper production capacity within five years.

It’s an ambitious goal, but when you look at what the company already has in place in terms of operating mines and production facilities, that 1.3-million tonnes number becomes more realistic.

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