Zambian mines contributes 80% to FQM’s group 2018 copper production
Kansanshi & Kalumbila-Trident copper mines have raked in US$3 billion in 2018. Canadian listed First Quantum Minerals (FQM) group with operations at Kasanshi and Kalumbila-Sentinel in North Western province of Zambia in 2018 produced a total of 606,000 tonnes in total production with the two Zambian based operations contributing 79% (about 80%) of the global copper mining giants total production. In a conference call attended by the Zambian Business Times – ZBT analysts, FQM president, Clive Newell presentation stated that the group recorded improved copper production, up 6% from 2017. Kansanshi contributed 252,000 tonnes while Kalumbila-Trident contributed 224,000 tonnes. The two Zambian mines together delivered 476,000 tonnes in 2018 alone. In terms of capital expenditure, FQM spent about US$1.3 billion in 2018 investing in its Copre Panama project. This is perhaps the groups diversification drive to water down the 80% copper production concentration coming from Zambia. However, the new Panama mine is projected to produce about 175,000 tonnes at most in 2019. The projected copper production for FQM group in 2019 700,000 to 735,000 tonnes and the two Zambian operations are expected to contribute about 560,000 tonnes which would be about 76% of the groups overall copper production. FQM projects 18% growth in Copper Production from Zambia This projection for Zambian operations is a growth from 476,000 tonnes in 2018, an upsurge of about 18%, a show of confidence in the Zambian mining industry and its production capacity. Since the projection is that its copper production will jump up to 560,000 tonnes from non-panama copper production, it signals confidence in the Zambian operations. However, Newall stated that the Zambian government is yet to advise the Goods and Sales Tax – GST rate which is expected to come into place by 1 April 2019. The impact of GST which replaces the erstwhile Value Added Tax, which the mines were zero rated and hence a net claimer of VAT has not yet been included, perhaps a signal that FQM expects to negotiate exemption. Zambian mines rake in US$3 billion in 2018 Taking the London Metal Exchange – LME average 3 months copper price of US$6,123 per tonne, FQM generated average revenues of about US$2.9 billion (about US$3 billion) in 2018. The company posted total group revenue of US$3.966 billion, meaning that Zambian mines on copper alone excluding other by-products like Gold contributed about 74% (2.9/3.9) to overall revenue for the FQM group. The Zambian government recently revised upwards its tiered mineral royalty tax band rates for copper mining companies by 1.5% and introduced another tier that would see a mineral royalty tax rate of 10% when global copper prices as depicted by the benchmark LME crosses US$7,500 per tonne price tag. The revised tax bands for mineral loyalty on Copper produced in Zambia for 2019 will be: If international copper prices are less than US$4,500 per tonne – 5.5%, if between US$4,500 – US$6,000 – 6.5%, US$6,000 – US$7,500 – 7.5% and a new upper band introduced for 2019 of greater than US$7,500 at 10%.