Vancouver-based Taseko Mines (TSX:T.TKO
, Stock Forum
) has announced a significant jump in annual copper production numbers
for 2013, with the a further 10% increase in molybdenum, at its Gibraltar Mine project.
The 75% Taseko-owned facility saw sales of 114.2 million pounds of copper and 1.3 million of molybdenum, with daily mill throughput up 81%.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, said of the news, "We are pleased that the ramp up of the new concentrator is complete and now operating at design capacity. Overall, the two concentrators are performing very well, although there remains work to be done optimizing the copper recovery circuits. Significant recovery improvements were achieved in the new molybdenum separation facility during the fourth quarter with molybdenum recoveries averaging 31%, a 79% increase from that achieved in the third quarter."
"In the fourth quarter, daily mill throughput averaged 82,400 tons per day, an 81% increase over the same period a year ago […] Total production for the quarter was 33.5 million pounds of copper and 480 thousand pounds of molybdenum.”
Mining operations transitioned into a lower grade portion of the Granite Pit during the quarter, leading to a copper grade approximately 10% lower than the life of mine reserve grade, according to Hallbauer.
“It is expected that the grade will remain at roughly this level through the first four months of 2014 before returning to more normal life of mine grades."
Cariboo Copper Corporation owns the other 25% of the facility.
Taseko has been embroiled in a dispute with the Tsilhqot'in National Government
over the B.C. government’s pushing of Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine, with the province insisting to Ottawa that the project would be safe and profitable
. The proposal is based around what is called the tenth largest undeveloped gold-copper deposit in the world.