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First Quantum reshuffles Zambian management team, as company tackles fallout from Panama operations


First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) is reportedly re-shuffling top-tier personnel at its Zambian operations to tackle production and safety shortfalls in the South African country.

This is according to an internal memo seen by Reuters monitored by Zambia Monitor on Wednesday.

The latest action seems to have come as the company continues to deal with fallout from the sudden closure order of its flagship Panama mine late last year.

From the looks of things, FQM had lost more than half its market value since public protests against the Cobre Panama project started in October.

Read more : FQM dismisses rumours of mine sale as false

An email sent by chief operating officer, Rudi Badenhorst, to the employees of the Kansanshi mine last week said to have indicated that while pursuing solid efforts of the teams at both Sentinel and Kansanshi, the last two production years at Zambian operations had fallen short of overall expectations in terms of safety and production.

He acknowledged that with the impact of the suspension of operations at Cobre Panama towards the end of last year, the memo said: “we recognise our need to reinvigorate our commitments to deliver on our investments in Zambia.”

Meiring Burger, who was part of First Quantum’s group mining team was promoted to general manager of Kansanshi mine, while Axel Kottgen who led the Enterprise nickel project in Zambia was promoted to assistant general manager “to achieve target outcomes at Kansanshi.”

Anthony Mukutuma, who until the recent announcement would lead external relations in Zambia to work on government and political strategy.

First Quantum is said to have suffered a major blow in Panama last November when the Panama government asked it to shut down one of the world’s biggest copper mines, accounting for 40 percent of the company’s revenues.

Earlier this year, FQM said it would move ahead with planned investments in Zambia even as the company cut production guidance.

The two Zambian mines, Sentinel and Kansanshi, generated $943 million in revenue for the quarter ending September 2023 and an operating profit of $210 million, company filings showed.

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