Taseko reaches tentative labour deal for Gibraltar mine restart

The Gibraltar open pit mine in BC. Credit: Taseko Mines

Taseko’s (TSX: TKO) Gibraltar mine in British Columbia is set to resume operations in the coming week after the company and the workers’ union reached a tentative agreement over the weekend.

On June 1, more than 500 workers at the mine located north of Williams Lake, BC, went on strike after talks over a new collective agreement broke down after months of negotiations. The current collective agreement expired on May 31.

In a statement by Unifor, their representative union, it was alleged that Taseko had “refused to negotiate basic terms” and “shown little interest in avoiding a disruption at the copper mine.”

The miner was subsequently forced to suspend mining and milling operations, leaving only essential staff on site to maintain critical systems.

Acquired in 1999, the Gibraltar mine is currently Taseko’s only producing asset, anchored by a large mineral reserve base that would support an average annual copper production of 130 million lb. until at least 2044.

Now in its 20th year of operations, Gibraltar is the second-largest open-pit copper mine in Canada, owing to $800 million in spending on multiple phases of modernization and expansion.

The new collective agreement would spell the end of the two-week work stoppage at the largest employer in the Cariboo region. In 2024, the mine is expected to produce 115 million lb. of copper, having already topped its guidance last year with 122.6 million lb. produced.

The new agreement remains subject to ratification by union members, and voting is expected to occur early this week. If the agreement is ratified, Taseko expects to resume operations on Wednesday.