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First Quantum Minerals Provides Update on Kansanshi and Enterprise Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimates


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© Marketwire 2012
2012-12-04 18:55:57 -

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/04/12 -- First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum" or the "Company") (TSX:FM)(LSE:FQM) is pleased to provide the following update on the Kansanshi and Enterprise mineral resource and reserve estimates in Zambia.


Highlights:


Kansanshi, Zambia


--  Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource upgraded to 744.3 million tonnes
    ("Mt") @ 0.86% Total Copper (TCu) 
--  This includes the maiden Indicated Mineral Resource of SE Dome of 54.0Mt
    @ 0.9% TCu 
--  121% increase in the combined Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource
    tonnes, 74% increase in contained copper,(i) under the same
    classifications 
--  Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves upgraded to 725.6 Mt @ 0.82% TCu 
--  178% increase in Proved and Probable Reserve tonnes, 106% increase in
    contained copper(i) (excluding stockpiles) 
--  Inferred Mineral Resource of 365.5 Mt @ 0.71% TCu provides opportunity
    for further expansion through infill drilling 
--  Uplift in Mineral Resources and Reserves fully justifies the proposed
    doubling of Kansanshi processing to 50 million tonnes per annum ("Mtpa")
--  Mine life extended to 16 years - at the increased 50Mtpa throughput rate
    (i) Compared to last published Resource/Reserve statement - see 
        March 2012 AIF



Enterprise, Zambia:


--  Maiden Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource: 40.1Mt @ 1.07% Ni 
--  Maiden Mineral Reserve: 32.7 Mt @ 1.10% Ni 
--  Confirms potential for an operation producing on average 38,000 Ni per
    annum with scope to increase to - 60,000t Ni per annum when economics
    allow 
--  Further potential to expand Mineral Resource and Reserve on the
    Enterprise South West Zone 



Ahead of the imminent meeting of the First Quantum Board of Directors, these Mineral Resources and Reserves establish the basis for the second phase expansion at Kansanshi involving the sulphide treatment facilities, and the Sentinel plant enhancements required to process Enterprise ore.


KANSANSHI COPPER AND GOLD MINE


Mineral Resource Summary


The Kansanshi copper mine is located at Solwezi in the North-West Province of Zambia. This large-scale, open pit mine has been operated by the Company since initial construction was completed in 2004. Since this time, various upgrades have been undertaken and the mine currently has the capacity to treat approximately 25.0 Mtpa of ore through a series of process streams required to treat the oxide, mixed and sulphide ore types.


A major Mineral Resource delineation drill program has been undertaken over the past two years aimed at identifying the extent of this substantial mineralized system. In excess of 120,000 metres have been drilled across the Main and North West pits together with near mine "step out" drill lines. In addition, a new discovery at SE Dome only 2 km from Main pit has had its economic potential confirmed with a maiden Mineral Reserve now established.


The Resource modelling and estimation has been an on-going process during the year and has been undertaken by CSA Global (UK) in conjunction with the First Quantum geological team. An interim Mineral Resource estimate produced in July 2012 has subsequently been updated with additional drill hole information up until the end of October 2012. This update was finalized in November 2012 and is shown in Table 1.0. The SE Dome Mineral Resource was also developed by CSA Global (UK) and was completed in August 2012 and this is also shown in Table 1.0.


The Mineral Resource for the combined Main and North West regions includes a total of 690.0 Mt @ 0.86% TCu defined by a cut-off grade of 0.3% TCu in the Measured and Indicated classification plus an additional 344.5 Mt @ 0.7% TCu in the Inferred classification.



The Mineral Resource for the SE Dome includes 54.0 Mt @ 0.9% TCu defined at a cut-off grade of 0.3% TCu in the Indicated classification plus an additional 20.8 Mt @ 0.91% TCu in the Inferred classification.

###PRECONTENT2###

The updated Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource for Main, North West and SE Dome regions represents a substantial increase when compared with values published in the March 2012 AIF. Initial comparative estimates show that the Mineral Resource tonnage has increased by some 121%, and total contained copper metal by 74%. The Inferred Mineral Resources has increased by greater amounts and these largely adjacent regions will now be the focus of the targeted in-fill drilling program for 2013.


The SE Dome provides for future flexibility in terms of the opening up of mining regions in predominantly sulphide mineralization; again drilling will continue in 2013.


The majority of the Mineral Resource increase is associated with sulphide mineralization which is significant when determining the optimal development strategies for Kansanshi; and it is now feasible for the expanded life of mine to be determined which adds great confidence to the proposed processing expansion projects.


Mineral Reserve Summary


The Mineral Reserves are defined using the July 2012 Mineral Resource model that was prepared by CSA Global (UK) as part on the on-going resource development strategy during the year. The Mineral Reserves were developed using current economic and physical parameters using the Whittle optimization process; plus utilizing a copper price of $3.00/lb and a gold price of $1200/oz.


The final mine designs for the combined Main and North West Pit and SE Dome pit was undertaken by Cameron Mining Consulting Ltd. Given that the Mineral Resource has now been updated in November 2012, work on a further Mineral Reserve update will commence immediately.


The Mineral Reserve for the combined Main, North West and SE Dome pits are defined at 725.5 Mt @ 0.82% TCu and 0.15g/t Au in the Proved and Probable classification as shown in Table 2.0.

###PRECONTENT3###

The uplift in the total Kansanshi Mineral Reserve is substantial when compared with previously published Mineral Reserve statements; tonnages increases in the order of 178% and contained copper by over 106%, excluding stockpile inventories. These expanded reserves can now form a solid foundation on which the expansion of treatment facilities at Kansanshi can now be finalized.


Gold production at Kansanshi has consistently been greater than the values identified in the Mineral Resource; however the lower level of geological confidence associated with the gold should be acknowledged.


ENTERPRISE NICKEL PROSPECT


Resource Estimate Summary


Enterprise is part of the Trident project which includes the Sentinel copper deposit that is currently under development. The project is located approximately 150 kilometres from Solwezi in north-west Zambia. In April 2011, large-scale mining licenses for the development of the Trident project were received from the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The licenses give First Quantum the exclusive rights to carry out mining operations on the full area of interest at Trident for a period of 25 years.


An intensive resource definition drill program has been completed over the Enterprise prospect during 2012. Recent drilling has been focused on a nearby satellite zone known as Enterprise Southwest. Some 359 diamond core holes for over 116,000 metres have been drilled as part of this program. The Enterprise Main Zone has been defined as series of relatively shallow dipping mineralized bodies covering an area of 1000 metres by 500 metres and ranging in thickness from a few metres to over 80 metres.


Resource modeling and estimation has recently been completed by CSA Global (UK). The Mineral Resource estimate for Enterprise Main Zone and Southwest Zone includes a total of 40.1Mt @ 1.07% Ni in Measured and Indicated classification plus an additional 7.0 Mt @ 0.7% Ni in Inferred classification, as shown in Table 3.0.

###PRECONTENT4###

Drilling is presently in progress over the Enterprise South West Zone with the objective of enlarging the overall Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource.


Initial metallurgical test work on samples representing a range of mineralogy, with head grades between 0.6 and 6.6% Ni, gave over 90% Ni recoveries to rougher concentrates at grades of between 14% and 17% Ni. Some nine new metallurgical core drill holes have recently been completed on the Main Zone recovering material for further metallurgical testing.


Reserve Estimate Summary


Preliminary mining studies to date are restricted to the Enterprise Main Zone and have defined a total diluted Mineral Reserve of 32.7Mt at 1.10% Ni. This assessment utilizing Whittle optimization techniques has been undertaken by DumpSolver Pty Ltd Perth WA, and has considered a Ni price of $7.50/lb The Mineral Reserves are shown in Table 4.0.

###PRECONTENT5###

A preliminary evaluation has identified potential to develop an operation with an annual throughput rate of 4.0 Mtpa and an average Ni annual production rate of 38,000 tonnes. However head grades may be varied to reflect changes in the Ni price cycle hence at certain times Ni production could peak at 60,000 tonnes.


As Enterprise is located just 12 kilometres north of the Sentinel project, it is expected that its development cost will benefit by sharing infrastructure, such as water supply, tailings storage facility, housing and administration, which is currently being developed for the Sentinel project. These unique and significant synergies are expected to result in Enterprise being a very low cost operation.


Qualified Persons


The updated Mineral Resource Estimate for Kansanshi has been compiled by independent consultant M. Titley of CSA Global (UK). The Mineral Resource Estimate for Enterprise has been compiled by independent consultant G. White of CSA Global (UK). The Mineral Reserves at Kansanshi have been compiled by independent consultant A. Cameron of Cameron Mining Consulting Ltd. The Reserves at Enterprise has been compiled by independent consultant N. Journet of DumpSolver Pty Ltd. All independent consultants mentioned are Qualified Persons for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects" ("NI 43-101").


The mineral resource and reserve estimates have been made in accordance with the standards specified in NI 43-101.


On Behalf of the Board of Directors of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.


G. Clive Newall, President


12g3-2b-82-4461


Listed in Standard and Poor's


Forward-Looking Statements


Certain statements and information herein, including all statements that are not historical facts, contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward looking statements include estimates, forecasts and statements as to the Company's mineral reserves and resources at Kansanshi and Enterprise, the Company's expectations of the results of future drilling, the Company's expectations of production and production cost and sales volumes, expected future production capacity, expect timing of completion of project development at Kansanshi, Sentinel and Enterprise, the impact of ore grades on future production, the potential of production disruptions, capital expenditure and mine production costs, the outcome of mine permitting, information with respect to the future price of copper, gold, cobalt, nickel, PGE, and sulphuric acid, estimated mineral reserves and mineral resources, our exploration and development program, estimated future expenses, exploration and development capital requirements, the Company's hedging policy, and our goals and strategies. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements or information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate" or "believes" or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.


With respect to forward-looking statements and information contained herein, we have made numerous assumptions including among other things, assumptions about the price of copper, gold, nickel, PGE, cobalt and sulphuric acid, anticipated costs and expenditures and our ability to achieve our goals. Although our management believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that a forward-looking statement or information herein will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. These factors include, but are not limited to, future production volumes and costs, costs for inputs such as oil, power and sulphur, political stability in Zambia, Peru, Mauritania, Finland and Australia, adverse weather conditions in Zambia, Finland and Mauritania labour disruptions, mechanical failures, water supply, procurement and delivery of parts and supplies to the operations, the production of off-spec material.


See our annual information form for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. Although we have attempted to identify factors that would cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those disclosed in the forward-looking statements or information, there may be other factors that cause actual results, performances, achievements or events not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. Also, many of these factors are beyond our control. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. We undertake no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are qualified by this cautionary statement.



Contacts:

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - North American contact

Sharon Loung

Director, Investor Relations

(647) 346-3934 or Toll Free: 1 (888) 688-6577

(604) 688-3818 (FAX)
sharon.loung@fqml.com :


First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - United Kingdom contact

Clive Newall

President

+44 140 327 3484

+44 140 327 3494 (FAX)
clive.newall@fqml.com :

www.first-quantum.com



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