The Toronto-headquartered company said Wednesday the ore passed through the primary crushing circuit last week at initial feed rates of 4,000-5,000t/h, before being placed into the first completed milling circuit.
In the coming weeks the focus will remain on hot commissioning to move the ore throughout the plant until the first copper concentrates are produced.
The company said it was now focused on an efficient phased ramp-up for Cobre Panama through 2019, with the goal of producing 150,000t of copper in concentrate by year-end. At its peak Cobre Panama is expected to produce 350,000t/y copper.
First Quantum in February last year approved a 15% expansion to 85Mt/y by 2020 and plans to take throughput to 100Mt/y by 2022.
At the current price of C$13.80, the company (TSX:FM) is trading 40% below its 12-month high of $23.05 and is currently capitalised at $9.5 billion.