First Quantum Minerals Provides Mineral Resource and Reserve Estimates for Its Sentinel Copper Project, Zambia

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire -03/26/12)- First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum" or the "Company") (TSX: FM.TO - News)(LSE: FQM.L - News) today issued the mineral resource and reserve estimates for its Sentinel copper project in Zambia. The project is part of the Trident project that is located approximately 150 kilometres west of the Company's flagship Kansanshi mine.



--  An estimated measured and indicated ("M&I") resource of 1,027 million
    tonnes ("Mt") @ 0.51% copper ("Cu"), using a 0.2% Cu cut-off, containing
    5.2 Mt of Cu.

--  An estimated recoverable proved and probable mineral reserve of 774 Mt @
    0.50% Cu, using a 0.2% Cu cut-off, containing 3.9 Mt of Cu.

--  A strip ratio of 2.2:1.

--  A mine life estimated to be in excess of 15 years with potential to
    increase with planned delineation drilling and future successful

"These independent third-party estimates confirm those of our exploration team and justify our plans to develop Sentinel into a state-of-the-art facility capable of producing up to 300,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate annually. Our strategy is to develop this facility over a two-year timeframe at the same time as a new copper smelter in Zambia that would process all of Sentinel's concentrate production, eliminating the need to export concentrate to offshore smelters."

"Altogether, we estimate Sentinel and the smelter project will require a capital investment of over US$2.4 billion, including an extensive infrastructure development program, and create approximately 2,400 direct jobs for Zambians."

"We plan to fully activate the development of Sentinel on conclusion of commercial negotiations that are currently underway," noted Mr. Philip Pascall, First Quantum's Chairman and CEO.

Qualified Persons

Sentinel's maiden mineral resource estimate has been developed and the data has been verified by G. White, BSc(Hons), FAusIMM, FGS - Principal Geologist, of CSA Global (UK) an independent consultant and a Qualified Person for the purpose of National Instrument 43-101 "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects" ("NI 43-101").

The mineral reserves have been developed and the data has been verified by independent consultants N. Journet of DumpSolver Pty Ltd and A. Cameron of AJ Cameron and Associates, both Qualified Persons for the purpose of NI 43-101.

The mineral resource and reserve estimates have been made in accordance with the standards specified in NI 43-101.

Mineral Resource

The mineral resource estimate utilized over 172,000 metres of diamond drill core in 514 holes completed since the purchase of the project in February 2010. The mineral resource is reported at a 0.2% Cu cut-off and grade was estimated using Ordinary Kriging and Uniform Conditioning into a block model within constraining mineralized wireframes based on a 0.15% Cu cut-off.

Table 1: Sentinel Copper Project - Mineral Resource Estimate


                           Sentinel Copper Project
              Grade and Tonnage Tabulation as at 22 March 2012
Class                                Material  Tonnage (Mt)           Cu (%)
Measured                                Oxide           4.1             0.67
                                        Mixed          20.7             0.51
                                        Fresh         489.2             0.55
Indicated                               Oxide          25.0             0.53
                                        Mixed          22.8             0.43
                                        Fresh         465.5             0.47
                  Total M&I                          1027.3             0.51
Inferred                                Mixed           2.9             0.38
                                        Fresh         162.3             0.42
                Total Inferred                        165.6             0.42
Notes: The estimated mineral reserves are included in the mineral
       resources estimate.
       Differences may occur due rounding errors.

Mineral Reserve

The initial mineral reserve estimate has been derived using the M&I mineral resource as defined in Table 1. The optimized final mine design has been developed using economic and operational parameters suited for large-scale open cut mining and processing operations in Zambia, and has considered a copper price of $3.00 per pound.

The mineral reserves contained within the final mine design is shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Sentinel Copper Project - Mineral Reserve Estimate


                           Sentinel Copper Project
                    Open Pit Reserves as at 22 March 2012
Class                                Material  Tonnage (Mt)           Cu (%)
Proved                                  Mixed          20.6             0.48
                                     Sulphide         455.2             0.53
                                    Sub-total         475.8             0.52
Probable                                Mixed          20.0             0.42
                                     Sulphide         278.4             0.47
                                    Sub-total         298.4             0.47
Reserve                                 Total         774.2             0.50
Notes: The mineral reserve shown in Table 2 is reported at a cut-off grade
       of 0.2% Cu.
       The total waste contained within the final mine profile is 1727 Mt
       which results in an overall strip ratio of 2.2:1 (waste: ore).

Mine Life

The mine life is estimated to be in excess of 15 years. Future delineation drilling planned to target the inferred portion of the resource and future exploration at Sentinel have the potential to increase the mineral reserve and hence mine life.

Technical Disclosure

The mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates are based on the definitions adopted by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), as the CIM Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves adopted by CIM Council as permitted by NI 43-101.

Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. There can be no assurance that those portions of mineral resources that are not mineral resources will ultimately be converted into mineral reserves.

John Gregory, an employee of the Company, is the Qualified Person under NI 43-101 who approved the scientific or technical information contained in this document and except as otherwise noted has verified the technical data disclosed in this document.

About the Trident Project

The Trident project includes the Sentinel copper deposit, the Enterprise nickel target and several other exploration prospects. It is located approximately 150 kilometres west of Solwezi in north-west Zambia and was obtained through the acquisition of Kiwara PLC in February 2010. In April 2011, large-scale mining licenses for the development of the Trident project were received from the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The licences give First Quantum the exclusive rights to carry out mining operations on the full area of interest at Trident for a period of 25 years.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

G. Clive Newall, President


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Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements and information herein, including all statements that are not historical facts, contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The forward looking statements include mineral resource and reserves estimates, forecasts, estimates and statements as to the Company's expectations of production and sales volumes, expected timing of completion of project development at Sentinel future production, expected mine life, capital expenditure and mine production costs, information with respect to the future price of copper, gold, cobalt, nickel, PGE, and sulphuric acid, our exploration and development program, estimated future expenses, exploration and development capital requirements, and our goals and strategies. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements or information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate" or "believes" or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

With respect to forward-looking statements and information contained herein, we have made numerous assumptions including among other things, assumptions about the price of copper, gold, nickel, PGE, cobalt and sulphuric acid, anticipated costs and expenditures and our ability to achieve our goals. Although our management believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that a forward-looking statement or information herein will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. These factors include, but are not limited to actual prices of copper, gold, nickel and suphuric acid, unanticipated grade, geological, metallurgical, processing, access, transportation of supply and other problems, political economic and operational risks of foreign operations, availability of materials and equipment, the timing of receipt of governmental permits, force majeure events, the failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate in accordance with specific expectations and risks in start-up date delay, environmental costs and risks, the factual results of current exploration and development, results of pending and future studies, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated, access to capital, future production volumes and costs, costs for inputs such as oil, power and sulphur, political stability in Zambia, adverse weather conditions in Zambia, mechanical failures, water supply, procurement and delivery of parts and supplies to the operations, the production of off-spec material.

See our annual information form and most recent interim and annual management discussion and analysis, for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. Although we have attempted to identify factors that would cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those disclosed in the forward-looking statements or information, there may be other factors that cause actual results, performances, achievements or events not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. Also, many of these factors are beyond our control. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. We undertake no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are qualified by this cautionary statement.