First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

March 30, 2011 12:30 ET

First Quantum Minerals Issues Updated Resource and Reserve Estimates and Progress Report for Kevitsa Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH-COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 30, 2011) -

(All figures expressed in US dollars, unless otherwise noted)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum" or the "Company")(TSX:FM)(LSE:FQM) is pleased to provide a progress report on the Kevitsa nickel-copper-PGE project in Finland. The project was approved for development by the Company's Board of Directors in November 2009 and is on schedule to achieve commercial production in mid 2012.


  • Increased mineral resource and reserve estimates

    • 46% increase in measured & indicated resource ("M&I") to 240 million tonnes ("Mt")

    • 50% increase in mining reserve to 160.6 Mt

  • Ramping up project construction

  • Submitted Mining Lease application for an expanded operation

Resource Update

Significant resource infill and extension drilling has been completed since the last resource update was published on November 30, 2009. Results of this program have revealed an extension to the Kevitsa mineralization immediately to the south of the historical resource under shallow cover.

 Updated Kevitsa Resource Estimate
Calculated at a 0.1% Ni cut off Tonnes Ni NiS Cu Co Au Pt Pd
Resource class Mt % % % % ppm ppm ppm
Measured 89.3 0.29 0.26 0.40 0.014 0.12 0.23 0.17
Indicated 150.8 0.32 0.29 0.42 0.015 0.11 0.19 0.14
Subtotal M&I 240.1 0.30 0.28 0.41 0.010 0.11 0.21 0.15
Inferred 34.7 0.29 0.27 0.36 0.014 0.09 0.14 0.10
Grand total 274.8 0.30 0.28 0.41 0.015 0.11 0.2 0.15
  • Updated resource includes 240 Mt @ 0.30% nickel ("Ni") + 0.41% copper ("Cu") in measured and indicated categories plus an additional 35 Mt @ 0.29% Ni and 0.36% Cu in the inferred category

  • 75 Mt (46%) increase in M&I resource compared to November 2009 estimation 

  • 117 Mt (94%) increase in M&I resource since First Quantum purchased the project in 2008

  • Ni and Cu grades have remained broadly similar in all the resource estimations

Exploration emphasis has now moved on to drill testing for higher grade targets on the contacts of the Kevitsa intrusion as well as some newly-defined targets in the surrounding district.

Reserve Update

A revised mining reserve of 160.6 Mt derived by utilizing the updated M&I resource and the modified mine design results in a strip ratio of 3.0:1, which is well below the previous strip ratio of 4.1:1 reflecting the shallow nature of much of the additional resources.

Updated Kevitsa Open Pit Reserve Estimate
  Tonnes Ni NiS Cu Co Au Pt Pd
  Mt % % % % ppm ppm ppm
Proved 84.7 0.28 0.25 0.39 0.014 0.12 0.22 0.17
Probable 75.9 0.32 0.29 0.41 0.014 0.12 0.24 0.18
Total 160.6 0.30 0.27 0.40 0.014 0.12 0.23 0.17
Total waste 480.0              
Strip Ratio 3.0:1              
  • Recoverable reserves increased from 66.0 Mt to 160.6 Mt (143%) since the purchase of the project

  • Ni (total), Ni (Sulphide) and Cu grades remain relatively constant despite increasing tonnage

  • These reserves are based on a new open pit optimization which utilized the updated resource and cost/physical parameters as defined in December 2010

  • Metal prices utilized to derive the reserves are $7.50/lb Ni, $2.25/lb Cu, $1000/oz Au, $1100/oz Pt, $310/oz Pd and $10.00/lb Co

  • The 4 stage open pit will be developed over a mine life of 32 years (an increase of 11 years since project approval) at the currently approved 5.0 Mt per annum ore treatment rate

  • Applications are currently underway to explore opportunities whereby the treatment rate can be increased whilst maintaining a mine life in excess of 20 years

Additional potential has been identified that could increase the overall recoverable reserve to 187 Mt when the combined M&I and inferred resources are considered. Further infill drilling targeting the deeper inferred material has been incorporated into future resource delineation programs.

Engineering, Procurement and Construction

Basic engineering has been completed with Fluor in Australia, and detailed engineering design with Poyry, Finland is well underway with substantial completion expected during Q2 2011. All long-lead equipment orders have been placed, and the majority of all other orders have now also been placed with deliveries programmed to suit the construction schedule. 

Several major construction contracts have been awarded to Finnish contractors. Currently there are approximately 330 construction personnel on site. Plant site earthworks are essentially completed, concrete work and structural steel erection is well underway, and the mills installation has commenced.

Construction of a number of infrastructure items is either completed or well advanced, and this includes the access road, the incoming powerline and switchyard and the water pipeline.

Major equipment supplier, Outotec, has commenced delivery of the grinding mills, flotation cells, thickeners and concentrate filters.

Potential production expansion

The significant growth of the Kevitsa ore reserve means that at the currently planned processing rate of 5.0 Mt per annum, the mine life would be extended to over thirty years. Taken together with the potential for further resources to be recovered, the Company is currently scoping opportunities to scale up production to 7.5-10 Mt per annum. An Environmental Impact Assessment is in process with the view to applying for a revised environmental permit later in 2011. In addition, an application has been made to expand the current Mining Lease to accommodate the further infrastructure that may be required.

About the Kevitsa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project

The Kevitsa project is located approximately 142 kilometres north-northeast of Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. Measured and indicated resources, as at March, 2011, are estimated at 240 million tonnes grading 0.30% nickel; 0.41% copper; using a nickel cut-off grade of 0.1%.The project has all material mining permits and was granted development approval by the Company's Board of Directors in November 2009.

The capital cost estimate, of $400 million, is based on the mining, processing and infrastructure requirements to treat five million tonnes per annum but also taking into account the possibility of further expansions should conditions allow. Kevitsa is expected to begin commercial production in mid 2012. The estimated mine life is over 30 years and the life-of-mine C1 cash operating cost is estimated at approximately $2.50 per pound nickel, net of by-product credits.

The open pit mine is planned to employ large-scale electrically-powered mining equipment to deliver ore to the primary gyratory crusher. After crushing the ore will be autogenously milled prior to the two-staged flotation process. Two concentrates will be produced – a copper/gold concentrate and a nickel concentrate that will contain the majority of the platinum group elements ("PGE's").

Off-take arrangements for the separate treatment of both concentrates will target international as well as local smelters.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors 12g3-2b-82-4461
of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Listed in Standard and Poor's
G. Clive Newall  

Certain statements and information herein, including all statements that are not historical facts, contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable U.S. and Canadian securities laws. Such forward-looking statements or information include but are not limited to statements or information with respect to the timing and amounts of future production of copper and nickel, future price of copper, nickel or gold, estimation of mineral reserves and mineral resources, our exploration and development program, estimated future expenses, exploration and development capital requirements and the timing thereof, the resource headgrade and annual throughput rate assumptions in our external study of Sentinel, and our goals and strategies. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements or information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate" or "believes" or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

With respect to forward-looking statements and information contained herein, we have made numerous assumptions including among other things, assumptions about the price of copper, gold, nickel, PGE, cobalt and sulphuric acid, anticipated costs and expenditures and the timing thereof and our ability to achieve our goals. Although our management believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that a forward-looking statement or information herein will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information.

See our annual information form and our quarterly and annual management's discussion and analysis for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. Although we have attempted to identify factors that would cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those disclosed in the forward-looking statements or information, there may be other factors that cause actual results, performances, achievements or events not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. Also, many of the factors are beyond our control. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. We undertake no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. All forward-looking statements and information made herein, are qualified by this cautionary statement.

Contact Information