Why First Quantum Minerals Limited Deserves a Closer Look

First Quantum Minerals Limited (TSX: FM) engages in the production of copper, nickel, zinc, gold, cobalt, platinum-group elements and acid.

It has operating mines in Zambia, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Spain, and Mauritania. However, the potential for even greater returns are coming for First Quantum because of development and exploration projects on the table.

Here’s a brief rundown on some of these projects and why they are important to the company and its shareholders.

Sentinel copper project

The Sentinel copper mine development project is part of the Trident project in Zambia. Construction began at Sentinel in 2012 and First Quantum has 100% ownership of this project. The Sentinel project is the biggest single development investment in Zambia in recent times.

First Quantum is looking at a staged commissioning of the project commencing in late 2014. The company is anticipating 300,000 tonnes of copper production per annum at the Sentinel project. Its capital expenditure estimate for Sentinel is $1.9 billion.

This project is advancing according to plan. In Q2, construction activities continued at a peak pace and 94% overall completion was attained by the end of the quarter. Power transmission lines work continued towards completion of the first line during this quarter and the second line by the end of 2014.

Cobre Panama copper project

Cobre Panama is First Quantum’s large Tier 1 open-pit copper development project and the concession consists of four zones totaling 13,600 hectares. When in operation, the projection is that Cobre Panama will become Panama’s main exporter with income comparable to that of the Panama Canal. First Quantum has an 80% equity interest in Minera Panama, a Panamanian company, which holds the Cobre Panama concession.

Cobre Panama has a mine life of 34 years. First Quantum’s capital expenditure estimate for this project is $6.4 billion. Cobre Panama will see commissioning and first concentrate production in Q4 of 2017.

In Q2 2014, detailed design proceeded at the project with approximately 30% complete for the process plant, 95% complete for ship loading and jetty, and 80% complete for the power station.

Haquira copper deposit

First Quantum has 100% ownership of the Haquira deposit. The main metal of this project is copper and secondary metals are gold, silver, and molybdenum. Haquira is in southern Peru, neighbouring the Las Bambas copper-gold project. First Quantum acquired Antares Minerals and its chief asset, the Haquira deposit in 2010.

Haquira is one of the world’s major undeveloped copper deposits. This copper deposit has great potential for a large-scale copper mine. For this year, First Quantum is working on the start of negotiations for the relocation of communities and environmental impact assessment studies. Haquira has reported measured and indicated resources of 3.7 million tonnes of contained copper equivalent and inferred resources of 2.4 million tonnes of contained copper equivalent.

With copper development and exploration projects in the pipeline, First Quantum Minerals offers potential greater future return on investment for investors. Perform your due diligence on this company, which is advancing projects for sustained growth.

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Fool contributor Michael Ugulini has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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