First Quantum Minerals Ltd. achieved commercial production at its Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama, effective Sept. 1.
The company said Oct. 22 that it achieved this milestone one month earlier than expected as a result of a rapid ramp-up of production by the company's project construction and operations teams.
Cobre Panama is on track to produce between 140,000 and 175,000 tonnes of copper in 2019, of which it had produced 87,142 tonnes of copper in concentrate by the end of September. There was 19,438 tonnes of the concentrate deemed commercial.
The operation currently has seven operating mills, and an eighth mill is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter.
The company expects copper production of over 350,000 tonnes per year from the plant by 2023, through upgrades to the mobile fleet and equipment.