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Lundin says Tenke Fungurume Phase II on track

Metal Bulletin News Service by Felix Njini

April 27,2012

Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM)'s second phase expansion programme, aimed at raising annual copper and cobalt production to 195,000 tonnes and 15,000 tonnes respectively, is on track for completion in 2013.

Lundin Mining, which owns a 25% stake in TFM, a world class copper and cobalt deposit in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s copper heartlands, Katanga province, said an expansion programme would be completed next year.

Copper majors Lundin and USA-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold are investing $850 million in purchasing new mining equipment, mill equipment upgrades, expanding the acid plant and doubling tank house capacity, to enable additional solvent extraction/electro-winning (SX-EW) capacity for copper cathode production.

The expansions will boost production by an additional 68 000 tpy copper starting from next year.

"The mine and mill continue to perform well and the $850 million Phase II expansion is on track. Phase II expansion to 195 000 tonnes (copper) remains on time and on budget," Lundin said in its 2012 first quarter financials.

Lundin funds 30% of capital requirements at Tenke while project operator, Freeport, which owns a controlling 56% stake, caters for 70% of the expansion's financing.

Tenke produced 36,130 tonnes of copper and 2,727 tonnes of cobalt in hydroxide in the quarter to March 2012.

Lundin's attributable copper production from Tenke for the quarter is 8,924 tonnes and attributable cash from the DRC operation was at $31 million, with all cash being retained at the mine to finance the Phase II project.

Lundin said that Freeport has raised its copper sales forecast to 136,000 tonnes in 2012, from an earlier anticipated 131,500 tonnes based on the assumption that production will approximate sales.

The Canadian listed miner's quarterly net income fell to $58.3 million from $71.2 million recorded in the first quarter of 2011 due to low metal prices and higher operating costs.

Its Neves-Corvo mine in Portugal produced 16,609 tonnes of copper and 7,020 tonnes of zinc during the quarter. Zinkgruvan mine in southwestern Sweden produced 20,431 tonnes of zinc and 10,348 tonnes of lead.