Taseko reports 170% increase in niobium mine resources

Canadian base metals producer Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) has come out with a new resource estimate at its Aley niobium project in northern BC.

The company’s 2011 drilling program converted inferred resources to measured and indicated. The new numbers show 739 million kilograms of niobium (combined measured and indicated) and 323 million kilograms inferred. In mineable tonnage, that represents 286 million tonnes measured and indicated with an average grade of 0.37% Nb2O5, and 144 million tonnes of inferred resource with an average grade of 0.32% Nb2O5.

“This represents a total resource tonnage increase of 170% from the NI43-101 compliant inferred resource released in the September 2011 technical report,” Taseko stated.

Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, “Confirming a measured and indicated resource provides additional confidence that the deposit will support a long life, low cost mine. The contained kilograms of niobium make Aley the largest undeveloped niobium project in the world, and we anticipate completing our metallurgical work and finalizing the feasibility study to allow for an early 2013 investment decision.”

The Aley deposit is approaching the size of Iamgold’s producing Niobec niobium project in Quebec, considered one of the world’s largest. That deposit has 485 million tonnes of measured and indicated resource (0.42% Nb2O5) compared to Aley’s 286 million tonnes. Iamgold said last year it was considering tripling production at Niobec, and also confirmed the discovery of nearly half a billion tonnes of rare earths close to the mine.