British Columbia-based Taseko Mines has retained its annual production guidance of 130mn lbs copper (58,967mt). The group produced 36.8mn lbs (16,692mt) copper in Q2, from its Gibraltar mine. Output was up by 6pc from the prior-year quarter.
Copper production rose by 13.6pc from the prior quarter due to improved recovery from 83.4pc in Q1 to 85.2pc in Q2 and better grades,
The volume of processed ore increased to 7.7mn mt from 7.5mn mt in the prior-year period.The company also cited a decline in copper production cost to $1.34/lb in Q2, which was the lowest level since Q3 2017. Cost of production dipped 33.3pc from the prior-year period and by 26.4pc from the preceding quarter.
Taseko expects the costs will go up as ore grades decrease. The production cost, however, is likely to remain below $2/lb ($0.0009/mt), as Taseko will start mining the Gibraltar pit. At present, the Granite pit is being mined.
John McManus, Taseko’s chief operating officer states following the mining activity at Gibraltar pit, production is likely to go up of the guidance interval. The company has identified some longer-term improvements to the mine plan.The company will incorporate the Gibraltar pit after resources at the Granite pit deplete. The company indicates lower costs from the former.
At its Florence Project, Taseko needs two additional permits to commence mine construction. The underground injection control permit is expected early next year. The mine is capable of annually producing 85mn lbs (3,855mt) copper at full capacity, at estimated cost of $1.5/lb ($0.0006/mt).
Taseko is considering a JV partner, debt, or sale of a stream. CAPEX is estimated at $200mn. In May, Taseko also signed an agreement with an indigenous nation that enables the start of the Yellowhead copper project permitting process.