Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSX, LSE; TGB-NYSE American] had 2021 copper production from the Gibraltar mine of 112 million pounds and sales of 105 million pounds. Molybdenum production and sales for the year were 2 million pounds. Fourth quarter copper production was 29 million pounds. Taseko’s 75% owned Gibraltar Mine is located north of the City of Williams Lake in south-central British Columbia. Production and sales volumes stated in this release are on a 100% basis.
Stuart McDonald, President and CEO, commented, “Despite major disruption to the highway and rail infrastructure in southern BC from severe rainstorms in November, we were still able to realize 24 million pounds of copper sales in the fourth quarter. Transit times for rail shipments are gradually improving and we expect to reduce copper inventories at Gibraltar in the first quarter of 2022.”
“Production in the fourth quarter was impacted by lower grades and recoveries from ore mined in the upper benches of the Gibraltar pit. Increased oxidization and pyrite content in this ore has been resulting in lower recoveries which we believe is a short-term issue that will be resolved. Ore quality will also improve as mining progresses deeper into the pit. In December, extreme snowfall and temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius also impacted mine equipment and mill availabilities, resulting in decreased mill throughput and a need to draw ore from lower grade stockpiles. Weather conditions have improved recently, and mill throughput has stabilized allowing our technical team to focus on optimizing recoveries from Gibraltar pit ore,” continued McDonald.
“At the Florence Copper Project, we completed our review of the draft Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) permit in early December and no significant issues were identified. The US Environmental Protection Agency continues to advance their review process and has recently advised the Company that they expect to start the public comment period for the draft UIC permit in February.
With the copper price today over US$4.50 per pound, 30 cents higher than the average price in 2021, we will expect to maintain strong operating margins going forward. Sales of excess copper concentrate inventory from Gibraltar will further bolster our first quarter cash flows,” added Mr. McDonald.