First Quantum Minerals has announced the commencement of copper concentrate shipping from the Cobre Panama mine, a large copper deposit located approximately 120km west of Panama City.

The Cobre Panama project consists of an open pit mine, facilities for ore crushing, conveying, stockpiling and processing, as well as ancillary systems, equipment and infrastructure.

The mine, which is spread across 13,600ha, includes four concessions. Production commenced earlier this year.

A total load of 31,377 wet metric tonnes of copper concentrate was shipped on the Missy Enterprise vessel, which departed from the Punta Rincon port at Cobre Panama on 19 June.

The second ship, Clarke Quay, is already docked at the Cobre Panama port and will be loaded with approximately 44,000 wet tonnes of copper concentrate.

The company expects to make shipments every two to three weeks.

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Cobre Panama is on track to produce between 140,000t and 175,000t of copper in 2019, with over 80% of production expected in the second half of the year. The company aims to increase production to 300,000t of copper per annum over the next few years.

Based in Canada, First Quantum is a mining and metals company engaged in mineral exploration and development activities. Following the acquisition of Inmet Mining in April 2013, the company secured an 80% equity interest in Minera Panamá, S.A. (MPSA), which holds the Cobre Panama concession.

MPSA was incorporated in January 1997 and has a mineral concession to explore the Cobre Panama property.

In 2017, First Quantum grew its ownership interest in MPSA to 90% with the acquisition of LS-Nikko’s 50% holding in KMPC.