First Quantum unveils Taca Taca maiden resource estimate

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First Quantum Minerals Ltd. [FM-TSX] on Monday November 30 released a maiden mineral reserve estimate for its Taca Taca copper-gold-molybdenum project located in the Puna region of Salta Province, northwest Argentina.

The reserve estimate is derived from an open pit mine design which contemplates processing throughput of up to 60 million tonnes annually through a conventional flotation circuit with a mine life of approximately 32 years.

The company said the recovered copper reaches a peak level of approximately 275,000 tonnes within the first 10 years of operations. Total capital expenditures are estimated at US$3.3 billion.

First Quantum shares advanced on the news, rising 1.6% or $0.29 to $18.33 on volume of over 1.3 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $18.55 and $4.71.

Taca Taca is a high-potential copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit that is currently in an advanced exploration phase. First Quantum acquired 100% of Taca Taca from Lumina Copper Corp. in 2014, through its subsidiary, Corriente Argentina S.A.

On Monday, the company released an updated measured and indicated resource estimate of 2.2 million tonnes grading 0.43% copper, 0.09 g/t gold and 0.012% molybdenum. The proven and probable reserve is now estimated at 1.76 million tonnes of ore grading 0.44% copper, 0.09 g/t gold and 0.012% molybdenum.

A decision to proceed with the construction of Taca Taca is not expected until sometime in 2023 or 2024, the company said in a press release, Monday.

First Quantum says it remains focused on developing its balance sheet over this period. It also said work will continue to advance the project and to further optimize the plan while obtaining the required approvals and permits and suitable assurances with respect to the Argentinian fiscal regime in advance of a formal construction decision.

First Quantum is a diversified mining company that is engaged in the production of copper, nickel, gold and zinc. It has operating mines in Zambia, Finland, Turkey, Spain and Mauritania. The company’s portfolio of assets includes the Kansanshi mine in Zambia, which ranks as the largest copper mine in Africa.

The company is also working to develop its Panama copper-gold mine in Panama, the world’s largest new copper mine.

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