Vancouver – The Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has given its blessing for First Quantum Minerals’ (FM-T) 80% acquisition of the Guelb Moghrein copper-gold deposit in the west African nation.
The agreement has First Quantum establishing an 80% owned company to develop and operate the project with Guelb Moghrein Mines d’Akjoujt SA (Gemak) owning the remaining 20%.
The company is paying Gemak US$10 million, in three staged installments, for the interest.
Guelb Moghrein is believed to be an iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposit. Copper-gold mineralization occurs as disseminated chalcopyrite, cubanite (a copper-iron sulphide), along with minor free gold, cobaltite and arsenopyrite. The deposit is hosted in shallow dipping mafic volcanics and sediments adjacent to a gabbro intrusive.
The deposit is situated on a 72,000 hectare concession in western Mauritania, near the town of Akjoujt.
A previous engineering study, under Australasian Code standards, calculated an open-pit mineable, measured and indicated resource of 23.7 million tonnes grading 1.88% copper and 1.41 grams gold per tonne, using a 1% total copper cut-off. The company plans recalculation of the resource to comply with NI 43-101 guidelines.
First Quantum is undertaking an engineering program, including metallurgical studies and plant design, with the goal of having production on stream by late 2005. The project will contribute significantly to the company’s copper output with anticipated production rates of 30,000 tonnes of copper and 50,000 oz. gold annually over at least a 10-year lifespan.
First Quantum is a copper producer (with associated gold, cobalt and sulfuric acid) from operations in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2003, the company’s copper production was just under 30,000 tonnes.
As of the latest figures, the company reports 60.3 million shares outstanding. The issue has traded in the range of $14.50-$14.75 per share at presstime.