November 12, 2008 / 10:22 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-First Quantum profit sags on copper prices, costs

(In U.S. dollars, unless noted)

TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit fell 20 percent as higher production was more than offset by the impact of lower copper prices and rising costs.

The Canadian company, which operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Mauritania, earned $147.5 million, or $2.16 a share, in the three months ended Sept 30.

That was down from a profit of $183.6 million, or $2.71 a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Net sales rose 17 percent to $563.9 million, as copper production jumped 43 percent to 82,187 tonnes, while copper sales rose 49 percent to 90,698 tonnes.

However, realized prices for the metal dropped to $2.70 a pound from $3.45 a pound in the year-before quarter, while cash costs jumped to $1.28 a pound from 98 cents a pound.

First Quantum also raised its expectations for 2008 copper production to 320,000 tonnes from 310,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)

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