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First Quantum returns to profit in Q1, set to delist from LSE

First Quantum MineralsLtd. has shifted back into positive territory in the first quarter,booking net earnings from continuing operations attributable to shareholders ofUS$49 million.

The Canadian copper producer shifted from a net loss from continuingoperations attributable to shareholders of US$78 million in the same quarter of2015, according to the April 28 results.

Sales revenues rose year over year to US$720 million from US$602million.

During the quarter, First Quantum achieved its highest quarterlycopper production and sales for continuing operations of 119,287 tonnes and 131,267tonnes, respectively.

This was driven by progressively higher production at the mine in Zambia eachquarter since the mine began production in the first quarter of 2015, as well asa more than 7% quarter-over-quarter increase in throughput at the smelter in Zambia andan average copper recovery of 98%.

Nickel production during the first quarter climbed to 7,106 tonnesfrom 4,238 tonnes a year earlier, while sales rose to 8,940 tonnes from 3,732 tonnes.

Quarterly gold output increased to 56,191 ounces from 49,780ounces, and sales were higher at 63,141 ounces, compared to 47,269 ounces in thefirst quarter of 2015.

Further aiding First Quantum's bottom line, all-in sustainingcosts came in lower than the first quarter of 2015 at US$1.36 per pound for copperand US$4.93 per pound for nickel.

Additionally, the realized average price for copper of US$2.38per pound exceeded the average London Metals Exchange price of US$2.11 largely asa result of the company's copper sales hedge program.

Meanwhile, First Quantum signaled plans to drop its LSE listingas part of its cost-cutting drive.

Chairman and CEO Philip Pascall said that companywide, the companyremains vigilant on cost savings and cash outlays and to opportunities to maximizeprofitability and cash flow.

"The delisting of our common shares from the London StockExchange is a natural consequence," he said. "After 15 years of beingon the exchange, the trading volume has remained very low and as such, the significantassociated cost and administration required to maintain the listing cannot be justified."

Pascall said existing and potential shareholders are not expectedto be affected by the change as the overwhelming majority of share trades are onthe TSX and alternative trading systems in Canada and the U.S.

First Quantum will be delisted from the LSE on May 31.