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First Quantum Minerals Ltd
Symbol FM
Shares Issued 691,787,827
Close 2022-07-26 C$ 19.11
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First Quantum earns $419-million (U.S.) in Q2 2022

2022-07-26 17:20 ET - News Release

Mr. Tristan Pascall reports

FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS REPORTS SECOND QUARTER 2022 RESULTS

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has released results for the three months ended June 30, 2022 (Q2 2022), of net earnings attributable to shareholders of the company of $419-million (61-cent earnings per share) and adjusted earnings (1) of $337-million (49-cent adjusted earnings per share (2)). As at June 30, 2022, First Quantum had achieved its debt reduction target of $2-billion, from the peak in Q2 2020, and, as previously announced, continues to target a further $1-billion reduction in debt in the medium term (in U.S. dollars, except where noted otherwise).

"While the restrictions from the global pandemic have largely eased, the macro environment has become more challenging due to a combination of continued high inflation and the emerging global economic slowdown. Our debt reduction over the last several years has placed our balance sheet in a better position for this turn of events. In order to build further resilience through these uncertain times, our focus will be on driving consistent operational performance, successful execution of our brownfield projects and discipline with our capital investments," commented Tristan Pascall, chief executive officer. "It is the determination and commitment of our work force that has enabled us to surmount the unprecedented obstacles that we have faced in recent years and means that we can tackle these new challenges with confidence. I thank the team for their continued commitment and efforts."

Q2 2022 summary

In Q2 2022, First Quantum reported gross profit of $629-million, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) (1) of $906-million, net earnings attributable to shareholders of 61 cents per share, and adjusted earnings of 49 cents per share (2). Relative to the first quarter of this year (Q1 2022), second quarter financial results were impacted by a declining copper price, inflationary pressures on costs, and lower sales volumes of copper, gold and nickel.

Total copper production for the second quarter was 192,668 tonnes, a 6-per-cent increase from Q1 2022. The quarter-over-quarter increase in production was entirely attributable to Cobre Panama, which achieved quarterly records in mining volumes, throughput and production. At both Kansanshi and Sentinel, lower grades continued into Q2 2022, which contributed to lower copper production relative to the preceding quarter for both operations. Total copper production guidance for 2022 remains unchanged at 790,000 to 855,000 tonnes, with full-year production at Sentinel and Kansanshi expected to be toward the lower end of the guidance range.

Copper C1 cash cost (2) of $1.74 per pound for Q2 2022 was 13 cents per lb higher than Q1 2022. While global inflationary pressures were present in the first quarter of this year, second-quarter costs were further impacted by higher energy and commodity prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine. Costs for fuel, explosives, freight, mill balls, reagents and other consumables represent almost one-half of the company's operational production cost base, and unit costs in these areas continued to increase throughout the second quarter and rose above levels assumed in current guidance. Copper C1 unit costs were also impacted by lower production in Zambia. Copper C1 cash cost (2) guidance range remains unchanged at $1.45 to $1.60 per lb. Unit costs over the next six months will be dependent on market rates for fuel and other key supplies, the market price of gold and other byproducts, as well as production levels.

(1) EBITDA and adjusted earnings are non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial measures. These measures do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS (international financial reporting standards) and might not be comparable with similar financial measures disclosed by other issuers. Adjusted earnings and EBITDA were previously named comparative earnings and comparative EBITDA, respectively, and the composition remains the same.

(2) Adjusted earnings per share and copper C1 cash cost (copper C1) are non-GAAP ratios which do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and might not be comparable with similar financial measures disclosed by other issuers.

Q2 2022 operational highlights

Total copper production for Q2 2022 was 192,668 tonnes, up from the 182,210 tonnes reported in Q1 2022, as Cobre Panama achieved record quarterly production while Kansanshi experienced lower production. Global logistical challenges persisted into the second quarter as a result of the flooding in parts of South Africa that affected the Port of Durban, the challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the continued disruptions in marine traffic flow related to the Ukraine conflict. As a consequence of these constraints, copper sales volumes in Q2 2022 totalled 187,642 tonnes, approximately 5,000 tonnes lower than production during the quarter.

Copper C1 cash cost (1) averaged $1.74 per lb in Q2 2022, up from $1.61 per lb in Q1 2022. Various inputs and operational costs continued to increase further during the second quarter. These include costs for fuel, explosives, sulphur, freight, reagents, liners and steel. Global inflationary pressures have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as supply chain disruptions. Second-quarter costs were further impacted by the wide-reaching sanctions imposed upon Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.

  • Cobre Panama delivered record copper production of 90,778 tonnes in Q2 2022, representing a 16-per-cent increase over production levels in the previous quarter. Cobre Panama saw an improvement in truck availability and increased grades in the second quarter. In addition, record mill throughput of 21.2 million tonnes was achieved in the second quarter, attributable to increased plant stability and continuous improvement projects. Copper C1 cash cost (1) of $1.54 per lb was 11 cents per lb lower than the previous quarter as higher production volumes offset the impact of inflationary pressures for key consumables, including explosives, fuel, steel for grinding media and liners, and higher freight charges. A collar structure for coal purchases continues to be in place with the ceiling price already exercised for July, 2021, onward, thereby limiting exposure to further increases in the thermal coal price until the end of 2023.
  • Kansanshi's copper production of 39,719 tonnes in Q2 2022 was 2,180 tonnes lower than the previous quarter as a result of lower feed grades caused by current mining conditions. After an extended rainy season, higher-than-anticipated water levels in the M12 cutback restricted mining deployment, which led to supplementary plant feed from low-grade stockpile. Water from this area is expected to be removed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, which will provide access to the scheduled oxide and mixed ore. In the quarter, a higher-than-normal proportion of sulphide feed came from narrow-veined regions as a result of the current mine layout and mining sequence. Recent detailed updates of the geological model confirm that a relatively small proportion, 20 per cent of the sulphide ores, comprise vein-hosted areas and 80 per cent from dominant stratiform mineralization. Continuing reconciliation enhancements have elevated understanding of such areas, which will allow near-term mine plans and sequences to be improved and optimized. Copper C1 cash cost (1) of $1.83 per lb was 37 cents higher than Q1 2022 due to price increases in key consumables and lower production.
  • Sentinel's copper production of 52,447 tonnes in Q2 2022 was 28 tonnes lower than the previous quarter. Sentinel's mine production of ore and waste remained behind the planned schedule in the second quarter of 2022, although progress has been made on preparing the pit for an improved second half of the year. As well, low truck availability and a backlog of truck maintenance continued from the first quarter. This was a direct impact of labour restrictions and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now subsiding. Copper C1 cash cost (1) of $1.88 per lb was 27 cents per lb higher than the preceding quarter, reflecting higher employee, freight, fuel, explosives and consumable costs.
  • Ravensthorpe payable nickel production of 4,348 tonnes was 395 tonnes lower than the first quarter as production was impacted by wet weather, especially during April when heavy rainfall was experienced, which impacted materials handling and reduced beneficiation throughput in addition to low preleach extractions and limestone availability. Nickel C1 cash cost (1) was $10.08 per lb, a $3.30 per lb increase as a result of higher processing costs due to increases in sulphur and fuel prices.

(1) Copper C1 cash cost (copper C1) and nickel C1 cash costs (nickel C1) are non-GAAP ratios which do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and might not be comparable with similar financial measures disclosed by other issuers.

Financial highlights:

  • Gross profit of $629-million and EBITDA (1) of $906-million for the second quarter were 31 per cent and 23 per cent lower, respectively, than Q1 2022 with the decline mainly attributable to lower metal prices, lower sales volumes and higher inflationary pressures on costs.
  • Cash flows from operating activities of $904-million ($1.31 per share (2)) for the quarter were $238-million higher than Q1 2022 with a favourable movement in receivables working capital balance at the end of the quarter.
  • Net debt (1) decreased by $476-million during the quarter, bringing the net debt (1) balance down to $5,339-million as at June 30, 2022. As at June 30, 2022, total debt was $7,164-million (March 31, 2022, total debt was $7,763-million). As at June 30, 2022, First Quantum had achieved its debt reduction target of $2-billion, from the peak in Q2 2020, and, as previously announced, continues to target a further $1-billion reduction in debt in the medium term.
  • During the second quarter, the company redeemed at par an aggregate of $1,000-million principal amount of the senior unsecured notes due 2023. On each of April 5, 2022, and June 7, 2022, $500-million was redeemed. No senior unsecured notes due 2023 remain outstanding post the redemptions.
  • On July 26, 2022, the company declared an interim dividend of 16 Canadian cents per share in respect of the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2022 (July 27, 2021: 0.5 Canadian cent per share) to be paid on Sept. 20, 2022, to shareholders of record on Aug. 29, 2022.

2022 guidance

Total copper production guidance of 790,000 to 855,000 tonnes and total gold production guidance of 285,000 to 310,000 ounces remain unchanged.

  • Cobre Panama year-to-date copper production of 169,115 tonnes is aligned to be within the full-year guidance range of 330,000 to 360,000 tonnes.
  • At Kansanshi, water from the M12 area is expected to be removed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, which will provide access to the scheduled oxide and mixed ore. Extensive work has been conducted on a new geological approach to narrower and lower mineralized veins that comprise around 20 per cent of the sulphide ores at Kansanshi, which is expected to improve optimization of the mine plan in the near term. Kansanshi is tracking toward the lower end of the guidance range of 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes.
  • Grades at Sentinel are expected to return to planned levels over the coming months with an improved grade profile in the second half of 2022 compared with the first six months, resulting in improved production levels over the course of the year. Full-year production at Sentinel is tracking toward the lower end of the guidance range of 250,000 to 265,000 tonnes of copper.

Copper C1 cash cost (2) guidance range remains unchanged at $1.45 to $1.60 per lb. Copper C1 cash cost (2) recorded for the second quarter and for first six months of the year at $1.74 per lb and $1.67 per lb, respectively, are above the top end of current guidance. Costs for fuel, explosives, freight, mill balls, reagents and other consumables represent almost one-half of the company's operational production cost base, and unit costs in these areas continued to increase throughout the second quarter and rose above levels assumed in current guidance. Copper C1 unit costs have also been impacted by lower production at both Zambian operations. Unit costs over the next six months will be dependent on market rates for fuel and other key supplies, the market price of gold and other byproducts, as well as production levels.

(1) EBITDA is non-GAAP financial measure, and net debt is a supplementary financial measure. These measures do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and might not be comparable with similar financial measures disclosed by other issuers. Adjusted earnings and EBITDA were previously named comparative earnings and comparative EBITDA, respectively, and the composition remains the same.

(2) Cash flows from operating activities per share and copper C1 cash cost (copper C1) are non-GAAP ratios which do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and might not be comparable with similar financial measures disclosed by other issuers.

Copper AISC (1) cost guidance range remains unchanged at $2.15 to $2.30 per lb. Copper AISC (1) cost for the second quarter and first six months of the year at $2.37 per lb and $2.32 per lb, respectively, are above the top end of the guidance range. Royalties cost included within AISC (1) is dependent on the market price of copper and has therefore been relatively high for the first six months of the year.

Ravensthorpe nickel production and nickel C1 cash cost (1) and AISC (1) remain unchanged. The spot price for sulphur has fallen sharply in July, 2022, compared with levels experienced in the first six months of 2022.

Guidance for total capital expenditure remains unchanged at $1,250-million. In July, the board approved the expansion of the Kansanshi smelter, which is included in the company's three-year capital expenditure guidance issued in January, 2022.

Zambian VAT (value-added tax)

During the second quarter, the company reached an agreement with the government of Zambia for repayment of the outstanding VAT claims based on offsets against future corporate income tax and mineral royalty tax payments, which commenced July 1, 2022.

Panama Law 9 update

In recent days, Panama has experienced civil unrest, largely focused on temporary blockades to transport routes in the main cities. Production at Cobre Panama has been undisrupted, and the company continues to monitor the situation closely. The company remains in contact with the government of Panama regarding Law 9, but recognize that its attention is, quite properly, focused on resolving the civil disturbances. First Quantum and the government of Panama remain committed to a swift conclusion of the Law 9 discussions on the basis of the agreed principles, and on ensuring that the new contract and legislation are both durable and sustainable with downside copper price and production scenarios.

Once an agreement is concluded and the full contract is documented, it is expected that the newly drafted legislation would be put to the Panamanian National Assembly. The company welcomes the transparency of the robust ministerial commission process and is hopeful that this matter can be concluded shortly.

Environment, social and governance

At the company's annual general meeting on May 5, 2022, Clive Newall, co-founder of the company, retired from the board of directors, and Philip Pascall, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) since 1996, retired from the CEO role. Philip Pascall will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

On May 6, 2022, the board of directors appointed Tristan Pascall to the role of CEO. Tristan Pascall has also joined the board. In addition, the board announced the appointment of Alison Beckett as an independent director of the board of directors.

In May, 2022, the company published its principal annual environment, social and governance (ESG) report, the 2021 ESG report, setting out the company's performance in a range of environmental, health and safety, social, and governance metrics against the Global Reporting Initiative and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board frameworks.

The company's approach to sustainability in host communities is consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and these are mapped against disclosures provided. The 2021 ESG report provides further information on the range of social infrastructure and community development initiatives undertaken in the company's host communities.

During the second quarter of 2022, the company published the 2021 tax transparency and contributions to government report. In 2021, the company contributed $1.6-billion to host governments through taxes, royalties and other payments, an increase of 44 per cent from 2020.

The company strongly supports the various transparency initiatives which provide all stakeholders with clear information of the contributions which are made to host governments by the company. The report is intended to meet Canada's Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act reporting obligations as well as Chapter 10 of the EU (European Union) Accounting Directive.

The 2021 ESG report, the 2021 tax transparency and contributions to government report, policies, and related programs, including the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure-aligned climate change report, can be found on the company's website.

Complete financial statements, and management's discussion and analysis

The complete consolidated financial statements, and management's discussion and analysis for the three months and six months ended June 30, 2022, are available on the company's website and on SEDAR, and should be read in conjunction with this news release.

Conference call details

The company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the results on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 9 a.m. EDT.

Conference call and webcast details:

Toll-free North America:  1-800-319-4610

Toll-free international:  1-604-638-5340

A replay of the webcast will be available on the First Quantum website.

We seek Safe Harbor.

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