Taseko copper production up 26% at Gibraltar, B.C.

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Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSE] has announced a 26% increase in annual copper production from its Gibraltar Mine in British Columbia.

The company said the mine produced 34 million pounds of copper and 369,000 pounds of molybdenum in the fourth quarter of 2023. For the full year, Gibraltar produced 123 million pounds of copper, a number that was well above guidance, marking a 26% increase from the previous year.

“The strong finish to 2023 is expected to continue in 2024 as the Gibraltar pit will remain the main source for the first half of this year,’’ said Stuart McDonald, President and CEO of Taseko.

Taseko shares edged higher on the news, rising 2.2% or $0.04 to $1.87. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $2.53 and $1.45.

Copper production in the fourth quarter was supported by strong copper grades of 0.27% with ore from the lower benches of the Gibraltar pit. Mill throughput in the quarter averaged 83,000 tons per day and was impacted by additional downtime for maintenance and monitoring of he ball mill in concentrator #2.

Copper sales volumes in the fourth quarter were 36 million pounds, and year-end inventories remained above normal levels.

Taseko is a Vancouver-based company with a portfolio that includes the Gibraltar mine in British Columbia, the Florence Copper Project in Arizona, and the New Prosperity copper-gold project, which is located near Williams Lake, B.C.

Back in March, 2023, the company completed the acquisition of an additional 12.5% interest in the Gibraltar mine from Sojitz Corp. and now holds an effective 87.5% stake in the mine.

Florence Copper is an in-situ copper recovery project located midway between Pheonix and Tucson, near the community of Florence, Arizona. Development is being performed in two phases, including a phase one production test facility and a second phase commercial facility.

Florence is expected to produce an average of 85 million pounds of copper annually during a projected lifespan of 22 years. Operating costs are forecast at US$1.11 per pound.

Taseko recently announced changes to its senior management team in a bid to support its plan to become a North America-focused, multi-asset copper producer.

The company said Richard Tremblay has been named Chief Operating Officer, while Terry Morris has joined the company as Vice-President, Operations.

The company also announced an update on two additional financing transactions, totalling US$100 million for the Florence Copper project. Back in November, 2023, the company said it was notified that Taurus Mining Royalty Fund L.P.  has obtained investment committee approval for a US$50 million royalty, and Societe Generale received credit approval for a US$50 million senior secured debt facility.

Taseko said the upon closing, proceeds of these project level financings will be available to Florence Copper to fund the construction and development of the commercial production facility.

The US$50 million royalty will be for 1.95% of the gross revenue from the sale of all copper from Florence Copper for the life of the mine.

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