VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 3, 2011) -

(All figures expressed in US dollars, unless otherwise noted)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum" or the "Company") (TSX:FM)(LSE:FQM) announced today that a groundbreaking ceremony for the Trident project in Kalumbila, Northwestern Province, Zambia, was held on April 29, 2011. The ceremony was attended by Zambia's President Rupiah Banda, traditional leaders led by Senior Chief Musele, senior government officials, and local residents.

In his speech, President Banda noted First Quantum's growth in Zambia, its investment in several social projects, its status as the country's largest single taxpayer and the positive impact of the mining industry on the country's economy. President Banda also reiterated his government's commitment to making Zambia a preferred destination for capital investments by international investors.

In his remarks, First Quantum's Chairman and CEO, Mr. Philip Pascall, reaffirmed the Company's long-term commitment to the Government and people of Zambia and the project's positive impact to the country's economy through the creation of more than 2,000 direct jobs and by providing a catalyst for large-scale infrastructure development in the region.

Update on the Sentinel Deposit

The Company also confirmed that it has, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals Limited, received the relevant large scale mining licences for development of the Trident project from the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The Trident project comprises the Sentinel copper deposit and the Enterprise and Intrepid targets. 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.

The receipt of the licences is a major step forward in First Quantum's plans to develop the Sentinel deposit on which it has conducted an extensive drill program since April 2010 and developed a comprehensive internal study.

To date, over 140,000 metres of drilling has been completed in more than 380 holes. The program is scheduled to complete definition drilling of the main resource in May 2011 and resource modeling and optimization studies are planned for Q3 2011. Drilling emphasis will then move to the eastern end of the deposit where, despite lower and more variable copper grades, some reasonable nickel and cobalt intercepts in recent and historical drilling make this area an attractive target for further work.

Based on its internally-generated resource estimate, First Quantum is proceeding with the design of a project that could produce annually 150,000 tonnes of copper initially then rising up to 300,000 tonnes of copper. Once the resource drilling is complete, the production target may be increased further. First Quantum expects to have a National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource statement available in mid 2011.

Subject to final permits, results of the on-going resource and mine studies and approval by the Company's Board of Directors, it is expected that the initial design and construction phases could commence during 2011 with commercial production in early 2014.

It should be noted that the potential quantities and grades and other technical parameters presented in this document in relation to the Sentinel deposit are conceptual in nature only. There has been insufficient exploration to define a NI-43-101 compliant resource and it is uncertain whether further exploration will result in the Sentinel deposit being delineated as a mineral resource and whether the Sentinel deposit will be developed into a mine.

About the Trident Project

The Trident project lies approximately 140 kilometres west of the town of Solwezi and 150 kilometres from the Company's Kansanshi mine in Northern Zambia. It comprises the Sentinel copper deposit and the Enterprise and Intrepid targets. The project was acquired by First Quantum in January 2010 through the purchase of Kiwara PLC for approximately $279 million.

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

G. Clive Newall, President


Listed in Standard and Poor's

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 U.S. and Canadian securities laws. Such forward-looking statements or information include but are not limited to statements or information with respect to the timing and amounts of future production of copper and nickel, future price of copper, nickel or gold, estimation of mineral reserves and mineral resources, our exploration and development program, estimated future expenses, exploration and development capital requirements and the timing thereof, the resource headgrade and annual throughput rate assumptions in our external study of Sentinel, 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 the timing thereof 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.

See our annual information form and our quarterly and annual management's 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 the 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.

Contact Information:

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - North American Contact
Sharon Loung
Director, Investor Relations
(647) 346-3934 or Toll Free: 1 (888) 688-6577
(604) 688-3818 (FAX)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. - United Kingdom Contact
Clive Newall
+44 140 327 3484
+44 140 327 3494 (FAX)

Maitland - United Kingdom Contact
Brian Cattell/James Devas
+44 207 379 5151
+44 20 7379 6161 (FAX) /