First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM)’s Zambian unit, which contributed 70 percent of the Canadian company’s gross profit last year, has paid a $500 million annual dividend, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Kansanshi Mining Plc, operator of Africa’s biggest copper mine, distributed the payout at the start of this month, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information hasn’t been made public. First Quantum holds 80 percent of Kansanshi with ZCCM Investments Holdings (MLZAM) owning the rest. Part of ZCCM-IH’s dividend may be paid to the Zambian government, which owns 87.6 percent of the company, one of the people said.
John Gladston, a Zambia-based spokesman for First Quantum and Joseph Lungu, a spokesman for ZCCM-IH in Lusaka, the capital, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.
First Quantum is the biggest copper producer in Zambia, where it is investing more than $2 billion in a new smelter, copper mine and nickel project. Kansanshi accounted for almost $800 million of the Vancouver-based company’s 2013 gross profit, according to First Quantum’s fourth-quarter report published in February. The mine produced 270,724 metric tons of copper and 167,395 ounces of gold last year.
Kansanshi paid total dividends of $195 million in the 12 months to March 31, 2013, according to ZCCM-IH’s latest annual report. The company received 43 million kwacha ($6.9 million) in payouts from the mine in the six months through September, it said in a statement in January.
Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at mhi[email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at [email protected] Dylan Griffiths