Taseko says copper production at Gibraltar in 2021 impacted by lower grades and recoveries
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(Kitco News) - Taseko Mines (TSX: TKO) reported today that in 2021, copper production from the Gibraltar mine in British Columbia was 112 million pounds, a decline of 9% over 2020 (123 million pounds).
The company added that molybdenum production and sales for the year were 2 million pounds or 9% less than a year ago.
Importantly, Taseko pointed out that despite major disruption to the highway and rail infrastructure in southern BC from severe rainstorms in November, the company was still able to realize 24 million pounds of copper sales in the fourth quarter.
President and CEO Stuart McDonald commented, "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.
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"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."
He added that at the Florence copper project, the company completed its 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.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Taseko operates its 75% owned Gibraltar mine, the second largest copper mine in Canada, with a nearly 700 person workforce producing an average of 140 million pounds of copper and 2.5 million pounds of molybdenum per year.
Taseko’s wholly-owned Florence Copper, Yellowhead, and Aley projects are all advanced staged projects that provide the company with a diverse commodity pipeline.