October 19, 2010 / 9:41 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-First Quantum Q3 copper production falls 18 percent

* Q3 copper prodn hurt by suspension of ops at Frontier

* Cuts FY copper production ootlook 10.5 pct

Oct 19 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals FM.TO posted an 18 percent fall in third-quarter copper production, hurt by suspension of operations at its Frontier mine in Congo after losing its exploitation license in the central African country.

The production was also affected by a four-day shutdown of the sulphide circuit at the company’s Kansanshi mine in Zambia and wet weather at Guelb Moghrein in Mauritiana, the Canadian miner said in a statement.

First Quantum, which suspended operations at its Frontier mine in August, also cut its copper production outlook for the year by 10.5 percent to 322,000 tons. It produced about 374,000 tons in 2009.

The company said its copper production in the quarter dropped to 76,600 tons from 93,486 tons, while gold output rose to 46,700 ounces from 43,357 ounces.

The company has three court cases outstanding, two versus the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one against Eurasian Natural Resources Corp ENRC.L, relating to the withdrawal of two licenses -- Frontier and Kolwezi -- in the DRC. It was stripped of the licenses after the DRC said they had been illegally granted. [ID:nWLA5288]

Shares of the Vancouver-based company closed at C$79.70 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair)

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