March 6, 2009 / 11:12 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-First Quantum posts wider-than-expected Q4 loss

* Q4 loss/shr $3.47 vs. est of $1.74

* Q4 net sales $12.4 million.

* Sees average cash cost of production at $0.80/pound

March 6 (Reuters) - Canada’s First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO) reported wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, hurt by weak markets and a decline in price of copper.

The copper and gold miner’s quarterly loss was $491.6 million, or $7.19 per share, compared with net income of $135.3 million, or $1.97 a share, a year earlier. Excluding impairment charges of $254.2 million, net loss was $3.47 per share.

The effects of the global economic crisis and consequential significant reduction in the demand for copper resulted in the London Metal Exchange copper price declining by 54 percent in the fourth quarter, said First Quantum in a release.

The company incurred negative provisional pricing adjustment of $212.7 million and net realizable value adjustment of $52.6 million in two of its mines.

For 2009, First Quantum forecast copper production at 380,000 tonnes and gold at 240,000 ounces.

It also said development of its Kevista facility in Finland had been deferred pending detailed engineering review and capital costing, and further delineation.

Shares of the company closed at C$33.24 Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

arup.roychoudhury@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: arup.roychoudhury.reuters.com@reuters.net

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