First Quantum Minerals Ltd.
LSE : FQM
TSX : FM

First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

October 17, 2006 03:01 ET

First Quantum's Guelb Moghrein Copper-Gold Mine in Mauritania Begins Commercial Production

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 17, 2006) -

(All figures expressed in United States dollars)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum" or the "Company") (TSX:FM)(LSE:FQM) is pleased to announce that it has determined October 5th 2006, as the date that its Guelb Moghrein Copper-Gold Mine in Mauritania reached and commenced commercial production for GAAP purposes. In determining that commercial production had been reached for this purpose it was necessary for the sulphide circuit to have run at above 65% of original design capacity continuously for a period of at least one week. The process plant is currently producing at a rate of approximately 1,650 tonnes of copper in concentrate per month versus a design output of 2,500 tonnes of copper in concentrate per month. Copper production has not yet reached design output due to a faulty pinion which has delayed the commissioning of the No. 1 SAG mill. A replacement pinion is currently being installed. Current gold production is approximately 2,800 ounces per month which is 52% of design output. Gold production will increase in step with increased copper concentrate volumes and gold recovery will increase with the final commissioning of the carbon-in-leach (CIL) gold plant.

Philip Pascall, Chairman & CEO commented, "Bringing the Guelb Moghrein mine into production could not have been achieved without the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania's initiative of supporting new investment in the mining industry. The successful development of Guelb Moghrein is a credit to our project team and mine management team. Furthermore, Guelb Moghrein establishes First Quantum's capability to develop mineral deposits outside of the Copperbelt region."

Guelb Moghrein is located 250 kilometres northeast of the nation's capital, Nouakchott, near the town of Akjoujt, in Mauritania. It consists of an open pit mineable copper/gold deposit. The Company remains unable to release an engineering report on the project, as the Company is not treating the historical resource statement as a current mineral resource estimate verified by a qualified person and therefore compliant under National Instrument 43-101. The Company expects to publish a compliant National Instrument 43-101 resource during the first quarter of 2007.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information contained in this news release "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Such forward-looking statements or information, including but not limited to those with respect to the prices of gold, copper, cobalt and sulphuric acid, estimated future production, estimated costs of future production, the Company's hedging policy and permitting time lines, involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. Such factors include, among others, the actual prices of copper, gold, cobalt and sulphuric acid, the factual results of current exploration, development and mining activities, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated, as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's documents filed from time to time with the Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario Securities Commissions, the Autorite des marches financiers in Quebec, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Alternative Investment Market operated by the London Stock Exchange.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

G. Clive Newall, President

12g3-2b-82-4461

Listed in Standard & Poor's

Sedar Profile #00006237


The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - North America
    Geoff Chater
    (604) 688-6577 or Toll Free: 1-888-688-6577
    or
    First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - North America
    Bill Iversen
    (604) 688-6577 or Toll Free: 1-888-688-6577
    (604) 688-3818 (FAX)
    Email: info@fqml.com
    or
    First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - United Kingdom
    Clive Newall
    President
    + 44 140 327 3484
    + 44 140 327 3494 (FAX)
    Email: clive.newall@fqml.com
    or
    First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - United Kingdom
    Carina Corbett
    + 44 20 7907 4761
    Website: www.first-quantum.com