First Quantum swings to profit in Q4 major new mine begins processing

TORONTO — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. swung to a profit in the fourth quarter as it works to ramp up initial production at its big new copper mine in Panama.The Toronto-based copper miner, which reports in U.S. dollars, says adjusted net earnings came in at $198 million or 29 cents per share in the quarter ending Dec. 31, up from a loss of $115 million or 17 cents for the same quarter a year earlier.Analysts had expected earnings of $166.91 million or 20 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The company said it had record production of about 158,000 tonnes of copper for 2018 thanks largely to a 17 per cent increase in production at its Sentinel copper mine in Zambia.First Quantum and other miners have been grappling with proposed changes to the tax regime in the copper-rich nation, with talks ongoing.The company announced on Wednesday that it had started to process the first ore at its Cobre Panama plant, part of a major new mine at which it will be ramping up production through the year.   Companies in this story:(TSX:FM)The Canadian Press

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