Taseko reports improved copper production

3rd August 2023 By: Creamer Media Reporter

Toronto- and London-listed Taseko Mines improved its second-quarter production at the Gibraltar mine, in British Columbia, by 13% quarter-on-quarter to 28.2-million pounds.

CEO Stuart McDonald reports that mining operations are well established in the lower benches of the Gibraltar pit, which have higher grades and larger, more consistent zones.

"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.  Copper production in June and July was 11-million pounds in each month,” he says.

Sales, however, lagged production, owing to an increase of inventory in transit at the end of June. Gibraltar sold 26.1-million pounds of copper in the second quarter.

The British Columbia port labour strike in early July did not have an impact on Gibraltar production, but it did restrict the mine’s ability to ship concentrate after the quarter-end. The backlog of Gibraltar concentrate inventory will be shipped in the second half of the year.

Total site costs at Gibraltar dropped by C$7-million over the previous quarter, owing to lower diesel and other costs, although the impact of cost reductions was partially offset by lower molybdenum prices which reduced the by-product credit.

Overall, unit operating costs dropped to $2.66/lb of copper produced, 10% lower than the first quarter, and are expected to decline further in the second half of the year as production increases.

Taseko posted second-quarter earnings from mining operations before depletion and amortisation of C$27.7-million, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of C$22.2-million, and cash flows from operations of C$33.3-million.

With increased copper production expected in the second half of the year, the company affirmed its original production guidance of 115-million pounds of copper.