First Quantum Minerals

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First Quantum Minerals
FormerlyFirst Quantum Ventures
Zeal Capital
Xenium Resources
S&P/TSX 60 component
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Key people
Robert Harding (Chairman)[2] Tristan Pascall (CEO)
Number of employees
20,000 (2021)

First Quantum Minerals is a Canadian-based mining and metals company[3] whose principal activities include mineral exploration, development and mining. Its main product is copper, which accounts for 80% of revenues as of 2016.[4]

First Quantum's common shares are listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada (symbol "FM"). Until 2016, First Quantum also maintained a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange (symbol "FQM"), in the United Kingdom.[5]


First Quantum was founded in 1983 under the name Xenium Resources. It changed its name to Zeal Capital in 1989, First Quantum Ventures in 1993, and First Quantum Minerals in 1996.[6] Its first significant operation was the Bwana Mkubwa mine in Zambia, acquired in 1996.[7]

In 2000, First Quantum acquired a partial interest in Mopani Copper Mines, a Zambian copper company. In 2001, it opened the Lonshi Copper Mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also in 2001, the company acquired the Kansanshi mine in Zambia.

In 2006 First Quantum acquired London-based Adastra Minerals for £140,000,000 in cash and stock.[8] In 2008, First Quantum acquired Toronto-based Scandinavian Minerals Ltd developing the Kevitsa mine in Lapland, northern Finland. In December 2009, First Quantum acquired the Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine in Western Australia for US$340 million from BHP Billiton.[9] In October 2010, First Quantum announced plans to acquire Antares Minerals for $450 million.[10] In November 2010, First Quantum sold its stake in Equinox Minerals.[11] In April 2013, First Quantum successfully completed a hostile takeover of Inmet Mining for CAD$5.1 billion. In June 2013, it was announced that FQM would have to lay off 500 workers at the Sentinel mine in Zambia as it could not sustain their upkeep while waiting for the lifting of a protection order on its operations from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.[12]

In 2016, it sold the Kevista mine to Boliden AB for US$712 million.[13] In March 2017 First Quantum announced it had launched a $1.6 billion offering of Senior Notes due 2023 and 2025.[14] In December 2017, First Quantum was announced as "the major mining company that will complete the Pebble Limited Partnership" by Ron Thiessen, president and CEO of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which is currently the sole owner of the Pebble Partnership.[15]

In 2016, First Quantum was ranked as being among the 13th best of 92 oil, gas, and mining companies on indigenous rights in the Arctic.[16]

In December 2019, Chinese state company Jiangxi Copper agreed to buy a subsidiary of First Quantum's largest shareholder, Pangaea Investment Management Ltd, which holds 17.6 percent of First Quantum, causing shares to spike up to five percent.[17]

In January 2022, negotiations between the Government of Panama and FQM started to define a new contract concerning the Cobre mine, Panama.[18] First Quantum's subsidiary Minera Panamá S. A. made proposals to the Government of Panamá including yearly payments of US$375 million in tax and royalty revenue. These payments were offered under the condition that metal prices and profitability of this mine would not drop significantly. However, the Government of Panamá halted discussions in December 2022 and announced plans to order the suspension of operations at this mine.[19] In February 2023, the Cobre Panama mine suspended ore processing operations after copper concentrate loading operations at Port Rincón were haltet due to a resolution issued by the Panamá Maritime Authority. Ship loading and ore processing resumed on March 8, 2023.[20] The congress of Panamá approved the revised contract concerning the Cobre Panama mine as Bill 1100 in October 2023, which was signed by the President of Panamá as Law 406.[21][22] Protests led to a moratorium on metallic mining throughout the country, "for an indefinite term", excluding already approved concessions, through Bill 1110, which was approved with 59 votes by the National Assembly (AN), on November 3, 2023. However, the constitutionality of the already approved new concession between the Government of Panana and Minera Panamá S. A. was questioned, leading to more uncertainty.[23][24] These concessions have led to massive protests in many places of the country that are still ongoing, with the protesters accusing the government of corruption and accepting bribes in order to give overly favorable conditions to the company.[25][26][27]

FQM reported, that its subsidiary MPSA made a tax and royalty payment on November 16, 2023 of $567 million for the period from December 2021 to October 2023. This payment is one of the largest ever tax and royalty payments in the history of the global copper mining sector and is the largest fiscal payment ever made in Panama. However, an illegal blockade of small boats at the Punta Rincón port continues to prevent the delivery of supplies that are necessary to operate the power plant of the Cobre Panama mine. This blockade forced the mine to temporarily halt production as of November 23, 2023.[24]

On November 28, the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court of Justice declared that Law 406 of October 20, 2023, which approves the mining concession contract entered into between the State and Sociedad Minera Panamá, S.A. is unconstitutional, a ruling issued unanimously.[28][29]Panama president said the Minera Panamá copper mine would be closed, hours after the country's Supreme Court declared its contract unconstitutional.[30]

Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

The Kolwezi tailings project was a major project to extract copper and cobalt from the tailings of older mining operations around Kolwezi. It was expected to produce around 70,000 tonnes per year of copper metal and up to 14,000 tonnes per year of cobalt hydroxide.[31] In August 2009, the DRC government revoked First Quantum's license due to a dispute over renegotiating the contract.[32] First Quantum ceased operations in September 2009, putting 700 people out of work.[33] First Quantum had spent $750 million on acquiring and developing the property. First Quantum took out an action against the DRC government in the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration.[34]

The Frontier Mine is an open pit copper mine located near Sakania. First Quantum obtained exploration licenses in January 2001 and July 2002. Production began in 2007, and in 2010 the mine yielded 322,700 tonnes of copper.[35] The Lonshi Mine is an open pit copper mine that produces high-grade oxide ore that was transported to Zambia for processing at the Bwana Mkubwa SX/EW plant 35 kilometres (22 mi) away. The mine was closed after the governor of Katanga Province, Moses Katumbi, banned the export of ore to Zambia, insisting that it should be refined in Katanga.[36] In May 2010, a Congolese court ruled that FQM's Lonshi and Frontier copper mines had been awarded illegally and that they should revert to state-owned Sodimico.[37] According to FQM, the ruling was due to FQM's decision to contest the expropriation of its Kolwezi tailings project, which was later sold to the Kazakh mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation.[38]


First Quantum currently operates mines and development projects in Africa, Australia, Finland, Spain, Turkey and Latin America.[39] In 2022 First Quantum produced 775,859 tonnes of copper, 21,529 tonnes contained tonnes of nickel, 283,226 ounces of gold. Copper was responsible for 86% of revenues, gold 5% and nickel 6%.[40] As of December 2022, First Quantum operates seven mines.

Operating Mines[edit]

  • Kansanshi mine, near Solwezi in Zambia. Main product copper, by-product gold. Open-pit mine, opened in 2005[41]
  • Guelb Mohgrein Mine, near Akjoujt, Mauritania. Main product copper, by-product gold. Open pit mine, opened 2006
  • Sentinel Mine, a copper mine in north-west Zambia opened to commercial production in 2016
  • Çayeli mine, a copper/zinc mine in eastern Turkey. This mine was acquired through the take-over of Inmet Mining Corporation, and started production in 1994
  • Las Cruces mine, a copper mine in Sevilla Province, Spain, acquired through the take-over of Inmet Mining Corporation
  • Pyhäsalmi mine, a copper/zinc mine in central Finland, acquired through the take-over of Inmet Mining Corporation
  • Cobre mine, Panama, a copper mine in Panama acquired through Inmet Mining Corporation, which started commercial production in 2019.[42]
  • Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine, a nickel mine in Western Australia, opened in December 2011, mothballed in 2017. Brought into production again in 2020.

Other Investments/Projects[edit]

Former/Mothballed Mines[edit]

Carbon footprint[edit]

First Quantum Minerals reported Total CO2e emissions (Direct + Indirect) for 31 December 2019 at 3,539 Kt (+1,706/+93% year-over-year).[48]

First Quantum Minerals's Total CO2e emissions (Direct + Indirect) (in kilotonnes) [48]
Dec 2017 Dec 2018 Dec 2019
1,618 1,833 3,539


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  2. ^ "Directors and Management". First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Overview". First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. ^ "First Quantum 2016 Annual Report" (PDF).
  5. ^ Notice of Cancellation of Listing for First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Archived 2017-12-22 at the Wayback Machine Financial Conduct Authority, published: 31 May 2016, accessed: 19 December 2017
  6. ^ "First Quantum AIF 2016" (PDF).
  7. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - International Development Committee: Written evidence submitted by First Quantum Minerals Ltd". Retrieved 11 January 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "First Quantum wins Adastra". Bonhill Group plc. 12 April 2006.
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  11. ^ "Mining Journal - First Quantum sells Equinox stake for C$653 million". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  12. ^ Zambia: FQM to Lay Off 500 Workers, Africa:, 2013
  13. ^ "First Quantum Minerals Ltd sells Kevitsa mine in Finland for US$712 million to repair balance sheet". Financial Post. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  14. ^ "First Quantum Minerals Announces $1.6 Billion Senior Notes Offering". 10 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  15. ^ Lasley, Shane Petroleum News "First Quantum enters $1.5B deal for half of Pebble; permitting begins", Vol. 22, No. 52, December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  16. ^ Overland, Indra (2016). "Ranking Oil, Gas and Mining Companies on Indigenous Rights in the Arctic". ResearchGate. Arran. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  17. ^ Jeff Lewis (10 December 2019). "Investor deal boosts miner". Financial Post. p. FP4.
  18. ^ First Quantum Minerals Consolidated Financial Statement 2021. FQM, 15 February 2022, pp. 51-52. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  19. ^ Cobre Panama Update. First Quantum Minerals, 16 December 2022. Retrieved 2022-12-28.
  20. ^ Annual Information Form 2022. FQM, 28 March 2023. Retrieved 2023-07-18.
  21. ^ Cobre Panamá Mining Concession Contract Enacted Into Law in Panamá., 2023-10-22. Retrieved 2023-10-26
  22. ^ Protesters march in Panama against the contract extension for a huge copper mine. AP News, 2023-10-25. Retrieved 2023-10-26
  23. ^ "La Asamblea aprobó en tercer debate el proyecto que propone la moratoria minera". Prensa (in Spanish). 3 November 2023. Retrieved 3 November 2023.
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  25. ^ "Protestas y bloqueos contra minera canadiense en Panamá – DW – 24/10/2023". (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 November 2023.
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  27. ^ "Minera Panamá: Vía Interamericana cerrada por protestas". (in Spanish). 4 November 2023. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  28. ^ "Panama's Supreme Court Declares Mining Contract Unconstitutional | Loop Cayman Islands". Loop News. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  29. ^ Robinson, Circles (28 November 2023). "Panama Supreme Court: Mega Mining Contract Unconstitutional". Havana Times. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  30. ^ Moreno, Elida; Hilaire, Valentine; Hilaire, Valentine (28 November 2023). "Panama president directs First Quantum to shut copper mine after court ruling". Reuters. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  31. ^ "Kingamyambo Musonoi Tailings SARL". International Finance Corp. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  32. ^ Tim Webb (6 September 2010). "Mining companies clash over Congo copper mine". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  33. ^ "First Quantum Minerals suspends Kolwezi Tailings Copper Mine Development". Proactive Investors. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  34. ^ Chanel de Bruyn (30 August 2010). "DRC withdraws permit for First Quantum's Frontier mine". Mining Weekly. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  35. ^ "Frontier Project". 24hGold. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  36. ^ Jon A. Nones (17 December 2007). "First Quantum Reopens Frontier, Lonshi Mine Remains Closed". Resource Investor. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  37. ^ BRENDA BOUW (25 May 2010). "Investors flee copper miner First Quantum". Globe & Mail. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  38. ^ "Congo minister denies reports of mine stake sale". Reuters. 17 August 2011. Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  39. ^ Lasley, Shane Petroleum News December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  40. ^ "2022 Annual Report" (PDF). February 2023. Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  41. ^ Mining Atlas Archived 12 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine "First Quantum Minerals Operations" Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  42. ^ First export of ore concentrate. Archived 4 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Press release, 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  43. ^ {{Citatioin the Central Province, Zambia,n |title=FQM, Mimosa Ink Mine Deal |url= |year=2012 |archive-url= |publication-place=International | |access-date=28 September 2012 |archive-date=22 January 2013 |url-status=dead}}
  44. ^ "Protesters march in Panama against the contract extension for a huge copper mine". AP News. 24 October 2023. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  45. ^ Andrew Lanham (5 August 2005). "Kansanshi shows its mettle". Mining Weekly. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  46. ^ "Zambia : Bwana Mkubwa mine to close". 13 August 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  47. ^ "Inmet suspends mining at Winston Lake - Reserves to be recalculated during 3-month review period - The Northern Miner". The Northern Miner. 14 December 1998. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  48. ^ a b "First Quantum Minerals's ESG Datasheet for 2020Q4" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2021. Alt URL

External links[edit]