BRITISH COLUMBIA Vancouver-based TASEKO MINES said the restarted Gibraltar copper mill reached 100% of the planned monthly copper production in February. The new molybdenum recovery circuit became operational in January. The mine, located near Williams Lake, was a former-producer for 27 years, and it still has a minimum of 15 years ahead of it.
After a four-month pre-production mining and mill/plant refurbishment period, Taseko re-started the Gibraltar copper mill in early October 2004.
Copper produced in concentrate during the first quarter of 2005 was 14,200,000 lb (84% of plan), as the rate was adversely affected due to extreme weather conditions in January. A flowsheet of the Gibraltar hydrometallurgical copper refinery (designed with CESL) is available at www.TasekoMines.com.
Also during the quarter, 141,000 lb of molybdenum in concentrate was produced. Moly produced in February and March was 80% of plan as circuit commissioning was underway.
Mining operations achieved the planned daily rate of 117,000 tons/day in November 2004 and maintained this production rate through the quarter ending March 31, 2005. Ore tonnes mined were 15% higher than indicated by the ore reserves, and average copper grade mined was 6% higher than the grade indicated by the ore reserves, as secondary enriched near-surface material was mined during this period. As mining has now moved
through this material into the primary ore in the current pit, the tons and grade of the material mined is expected to be more in line with the average indicated mineral reserves.