VANCOUVER, Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – Taseko (TSX: TKO; NYSE MKT: TGB) (the “Company”) announces 2015 annual production of 142 million pounds of copper and one million pounds of molybdenum. Year-over-year copper production was 4% higher as a result of increased mill throughput, higher copper grades and improved copper recovery. Total sales for the year were 142 million pounds of copper and one million pounds of molybdenum.
Copper production in the fourth quarter was 33.1 million pounds, lower than the previous quarter due to the expected decline in head grade as well as slightly lower mill throughput and copper recoveries. Modifications made to the mill early in the quarter temporarily affected the grinding circuits and overall mill performance. By early December throughput had returned to design capacity along with improvements to copper recovery. Copper recovery remains a focus of the operations team.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, “2015 was another strong production year for Gibraltar. Throughput, recoveries and grade were all higher than in 2014, which resulted in Gibraltar’s best production year ever and, in turn, low cost per ton milled and site costs. If we had not made the extensive investment in Gibraltar that we have, it is likely the mine would not be operating in the current price environment. We will remain focused on continual operational improvements to ensure we are well prepared to capitalize when stronger copper pricing returns.”
Mr. Hallbauer continued, “We recently completed our 2016 operating budget. As previously indicated, the average grade in 2016 will be lower than in 2015 but have a similar profile, with lower grades being mined in the first half of the year and then increasing in the back half of 2016. Copper production for the year is expected to be in the range of 130 to 140 million pounds. Our molybdenum facility will remain on care and maintenance until we see the market stabilize at higher prices.”
“Our expectation is that cost per ton milled in 2016 will remain at a similar level as 2015. Our main challenge, will be maintaining our site operating cost structure, on a per pound basis, while we are processing lower grade ore, especially in the first half of the year. Gibraltar sustaining capital for 2016 is budgeted at less than $5 million,” concluded Mr. Hallbauer.
Note: Gibraltar is a Joint Venture owned by Taseko Mines Limited (75%) and Cariboo Copper Corp. (25%). All production and sales figures are reported on a 100% basis, unless otherwise noted.
President and CEO
This document contains “forward-looking statements” that were based on Taseko’s expectations, estimates and projections as of the dates as of which those statements were made. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “anticipate”, “project”, “target”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “should” and similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These included but are not limited to:
For further information on Taseko, investors should review the Company’s annual Form 40-F filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission www.sec.gov and home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.