November 8, 2011 / 10:50 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-First Quantum cuts FY gold, copper output view

* Q3 EPS $0.20 vs net loss of $0.29 yr ago

* Q3 rev up 10 pct at $651 mln

* Sees FY gold production 175,000 gold ounces

* Sees FY copper production 265,000 tonnes (Adds outlook, background, share close)

Nov 8 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals lowered its full-year production outlook to reflect a dip in quarterly production, even as higher gold and copper prices enabled the miner to post a third-quarter profit.

The Vancouver-based miner now expects to produce 265,000 tonnes of copper and 175,000 ounces of gold in the year. It had earlier expected to mine 280,000 tonnes of copper and 190,000 ounces of gold this year.

Africa-focused First Quantum, which also owns operations in Australia, Peru and Finland, said net income in the quarter was $120.5 million, or 20 cents a share.

It had posted a loss of $104.9 million, or $0.29 a share, a year earlier, hurt by impairment charges related to the forced closure of operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $90.9 million, compared with a net loss of $117.2 million last year.

Revenue for the quarter rose almost 10 percent to $651 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 38 cents per share, on revenue of $689.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company produced 41,458 ounces of gold and 58,785 tonnes of copper in the quarter. Last year, it produced 46,718 gold ounces and 76,633 tonnes of copper.

The copper-gold miner is also set to become a significant player in the nickel market once it begins commercial output from its Ravensthorpe project in Australia and its Kevitsa project in Finland.

Earlier this month, First Quantum said it is ramping-up operations at Ravensthorpe, which will be in commercial production before the end of 2011. Most construction work at Kevitsa is also complete and commercial operations at the site are set to begin in mid 2012.

Ravensthorpe is expected to produce 39,000 tonnes of nickel annually in the first five years of operation and 28,000 tonnes, on average, over its anticipated 30-year mine life.

The company expects Kevitsa to produce 10,000 tonnes of nickel and 20,000 tonnes of copper annually, over a 30-year period. It is also currently seeking regulatory approvals to boost output from Kevitsa down the road.

Shares of First Quantum and those of its peers have swung widely this year with gyrations in the price of copper, which has been impacted by concerns around the Euro zone debt crisis and slowing growth in China. First Quantum shares closed at C$22.99 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)

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