March 6, 2012 / 11:21 PM / 5 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-First Quantum Minerals profit falls on weak copper sales

March 6 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd's fourth-quarter net earnings fell about 83 percent, hurt by lower copper volumes and prices.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based miner expects to produce 270,000 to 290,000 tonnes of copper and 170,000 to 190,000 ounces of gold this year.

The company produced 265,576 tonnes of copper and 175,225 ounces of gold in 2011.

Fourth-quarter copper sales volumes fell 14 percent to 65,638 tonnes. The average realized copper price fell 11 percent to $3.33 per pound during the quarter.

October-December net earnings attributable to shareholders fell to $76 million, or 16 cents a share, from $454.7 million, or $1.12 a share, a year ago.

Comparative earnings from continuing operations were 17 cents a share, down from 35 cents, a year ago.

Revenue fell about 20 percent to $567.3 million. Copper production fell about 11 percent to 67,316 tonnes, while gold production was down about 10 percent at 43,524 ounces.

Shares of the company closed down about 6 percent at C$20.60 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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