Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSE] has reported improved copper production in a press release containing the company’s 2023 second quarter financial results, which included an adjusted net loss of $4 million or 2.0 cents per share.
The company said its flagship Gibraltar mine in British Columbia produced 28 million pounds of copper and 230,000 pounds of molybdenum in the second quarter. “Copper production was 13% higher than the prior quarter as a result of higher grade, throughput and recoveries,’’ the company said.
“Mining operations are now well established in the lower benches of the Gibraltar pit, which have higher grades and larger, more consistent or zones,’’ said Taseko President and CEO Stuart McDonald. “Low mill availabilities had an impact on production in April and May, but in June and July we benefited from the softer ore in the Gibraltar pit and mill throughput averaged well above nameplate capacity,’’ he said.
The Gibraltar pit will be the sole source of ore for the remainder of 2023.
“With increased copper production expected in the second half of the year, we continue to track towards our original production guidance of 115 million pounds of copper (plus/minus 5.0%),” McDonald said.
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.
On Thursday, Taseko shares eased 4.2% or $0.08 to $1.84. The shares currently trade in a 52-week range of $2.53 and $1.25.
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.
“At Florence Copper, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advancing its process for the underground injection control permit,’’ said McDonald. “Based on our latest dialogue with the EPA, we believe they are close to making a final permit decision,’’ he said. “In the meantime, we continue to advance discussions with potential financing partners for the remainder of the project financing package, which could include a copper royalty and/or a small project loan.’’
These transactions would complement the committed funding from Mitsui, Bank of America and Taseko’s revolving credit facility.