First Quantum confirmed that production at its Kansanshi copper/gold mine in Zambia is currently suspended due to a labor dispute that started January 3, 2012. “Every effort is being made to understand and resolve the issues behind the dispute and we will keep our stakeholders informed of developments as warranted,” said Philip Pascall, chairman and CEO of First Quantum.

The Kansanshi mine, the largest copper mine in Africa, is 80% owned by Kansanshi Mining, a First Quantum subsidiary. The remaining 20% is owned by a subsidiary of ZCCM (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines). The mine is located approximately 10 km north of the town of Solwezi and 180 km to the northwest of the Copperbelt town of Chingola.

The mine has undergone several expansions since it began operating in 2005. From an initial production capacity of 110,000 metric tons (mt) of copper, Kansanshi is now capable of producing 250,000 mt of copper and more than 100,000 oz of gold per year. A multi-stage expansion project aims to increase copper output capacity to approximately 400,000 mt by 2015.