Taseko Mines hits milestone as copper trends higher

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Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSX; TGB-NYSE American] said the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has granted its 100%-owned Florence Copper Project an Aquifer Protection Permit.

“This is a key milestone in the advancement of the company’s new operating asset,” said Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer. “By issuing this permit, the ADEQ has endorsed the environmental integrity of our project and is confident that the commercial operation will meet its state environmental laws and regulations,” he said.

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

The Phase one facility, including 24 injection, recovery and monitoring wells and an SX/EW plant, commenced operations in December, 2018. Taseko is now advancing the permit amendment process to transition the project towards commercial production.

“The US Environmental Protection Agency continues to advance their permitting process and our expectation is that the Underground Injection Control Permit will be issued in early 2021,”  Hallbauer sadi. “With construction anticipated to commence in 2021, the timing could not be better with copper being highlighted as the metal of the future as the world aggressively transitions to a green economy.”

When in production, Florence Copper is expected to produce 85 million pounds of copper annually at a cash cost of US$1.13 per pound over a 20-year lifespan. Based on the company’s latest technical report and supported by nearly two years of successful operation of the test facility, the project has an after-tax NPV (8%) of US$680 million at a copper price of US$3.00 per pound.

“We have de-risked the project significantly since its acquisition in 2014 and believe we are on the cusp of being one of the best low-cost, fully permitted and finance copper projects in the world,” said Taseko President Stuart McDonald.

News that Taseko has reached a key milestone in Arizona comes after the company recently released an update related to its New Prosperity mine proposal in BC. The company has said the Tsilhqot’in Nation as represented by the Tsilhqot’in national government and Taseko Mines have entered into a dialogue, facilitated by the Province of British Columbia, to try and obtain a long-term solution to the conflict regarding the proposed New Prosperity mine, acknowledging Taseko’s commercial interests and the opposition of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to the project.

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