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    First Quantum profit and revenue higher on increased production and prices

    VANCOUVER - First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM) more than doubled its fourth-quarter earnings compared with a year ago, boosted in part by increased gold and copper production, higher prices and lower costs.

    The miner, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said Tuesday it earned US$186.7 million or 39 cents per diluted share on $774.6 million in revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

    That compared with a profit of $76 million or 16 cents per share on $567.3 million in revenue a year ago.

    Total copper production was up 26 per cent compared with a year ago, while total nickel production improved 78 per cent.

    Total gold production improved 48 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2011.

    For the full year, First Quantum earned a profit of $1.77 billion or $3.72 per diluted share on $2.95 billion in revenue. That compared with a profit of $528.9 million of $1.18 per diluted share on $2.58 billion in revenue in 2011.

    Last week, First Quantum extended its $5.1-billion takeover offer for Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) to March 11 after taking an inside look at the company's books.

    Inmet, which has mining operations in Turkey, Spain and Finland, along with an 80 per cent interest in the Cobre Panama project under construction in Panama, has rejected the offer, but it has also waived the application of its shareholder rights plan after a review of strategic alternatives.

    Shares in First Quantum, which reported its results after the close of markets, were down a penny at $18.08 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.


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