First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM), one of world’s largest producers of copper and other metals, announced first-quarter earnings results after the market closed on April 30 and its stock responded by rising over 5% in the trading session that followed. Let’s take a thorough look through the report to determine if we should consider buying in to the rally, or if we should wait for a better entry point in the trading sessions ahead.

The results that ignited a rally

Here’s a summary of First Quantum’s first-quarter earnings results compared with its results in the same period a year ago. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

Metric Q1 2015 Q1 2014
Comparable Earnings Per Share ($0.02) $0.22
Revenue $650 million $821 million

Source: First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2015, First Quantum reported an adjusted net loss of $12 million, or $0.02 per share, compared with an adjusted net profit of $130 million, or $0.22 per share, in the same quarter a year ago, as its revenue decreased 20.8% to $650 million.

These weak results can be attributed to two primary factors. First, metal prices have fallen since the year-ago period, including the average realized price of copper decreasing 17.4% to $2.56 per pound and the average realized price of nickel decreasing 0.2% to $6.56 per pound. Second, First Quantum’s sales volume fell in all three of its major metal categories compared with the year-ago period, including sales of copper decreasing 7.4% to 95,185 tonnes, sales of nickel decreasing 59.5% to 5,706 tonnes, and sales of gold decreasing 12.3% to 52,782 ounces.

Here’s a breakdown of 12 other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Copper production decreased 14.9% to 96,318 tonnes
  2. Cash cost per pound of copper produced increased 0.7% to $1.39
  3. Sales of copper decreased 22.2% to $501 million
  4. Nickel production decreased 47.1% to 6,268 tonnes
  5. Cash cost per pound of nickel produced increased 0.7% to $4.40
  6. Sales of nickel decreased 57.5% to $62 million
  7. Gold production decreased 12.3% to 52,782 ounces
  8. Sales of gold decreased 7.1% to $52 million
  9. Comparable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization decreased 67.8% to $120 million
  10. Cash flows from operating activities decreased 64.6% to $131 million
  11. Weighted average number of diluted shares outstanding increased 1.6% to 600.51 million
  12. Ended the quarter with $302 million in cash and cash equivalents, a decrease of 15.4% from the beginning of the quarter

Should you invest in First Quantum today?

Even though I do not think the post-earnings rally in First Quantum’s stock was warranted, I do think it represents an appealing long-term investment opportunity today. I think this because it trades at low forward valuations, including a mere 13.4 times fiscal 2016’s estimated earnings per share of $1.46, which is very inexpensive compared with its five-year average price-to-earnings multiple of 16.

I think First Quantum’s stock could consistently command a fair multiple of at least 16, which would place its shares upwards of $23 by the conclusion of fiscal 2016, representing upside of more than 17% from today’s levels.

With all of this information in mind, I think First Quantum Minerals represents one of the best long-term investment opportunities in the metals and mining industry today. Foolish investors should take a closer look and consider beginning to scale in to long-term positions.

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Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.