Taseko up 10% on copper permit news

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Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSE] shares rallied in active trading Monday after the company said it has reached a key milestone at its Florence Copper Project in Arizona.

The company said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided the company with an initial draft of the underground injection control permit for the Florence project.

Taseko’s project technical team will complete a review of the permit wording for within the two-week allotted time frame. After that, the EPA is expected to commence a public comment period.

“Detailed engineering and procurement activities are well advanced, and we will be ready for construction of the commercial facility immediately upon issuance of the final UIC permit,’’ said Taseko Stuart McDonald.

“The Florence copper project will have one of the smallest environmental footprints of any copper mine in the world.’’

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.

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

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.

On Monday, Taseko shares advanced on the news, rising 10% or 25 cents to $2.75 on volume of 541,730. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $3.22 and $1.035.

Taseko was in the news recently when it agreed to sell a gold project located off the coast of British Columbia, to JDS Gold Inc., a newly incorporated company controlled by JDS Energy & Mining Inc. and affiliates.

Under the agreement, JDS became the owner and operator of the Harmony Gold Project, a high-grade development-stage property, which covers 177 square kilometres and is estimated to host a historical resource of over 3.0 million ounces of gold. The project is located on Graham Island, Haida Gwaii.

The company said that material is contained within 22 million tonnes of measured and 42 million tonnes of indicated resources grading 1.77 and 1.41 g/t gold respectively at a 0.60 gold cut-off grade.

Taseko retains a 15% carried interest in JDS and a 2% net smelter return royalty on the project.


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