Taseko boosts copper production at Gibraltar mine after upping stake

Taseko’s 87.5% owned Gibraltar mine. Credit: Taseko Mines

Taseko Mines (TSX: TKO, LSE: TKO) reported on Wednesday that its flagship Gibraltar mine produced 35 million lb. of copper and 369,000 lb. of molybdenum during the third quarter of 2023.

Copper output was 25% higher than the previous quarter, owing to higher grades, improved recoveries and increased mill throughput.

Taseko acquired Sojitz’s 12.5% stake in Cariboo Copper, the joint venture that runs Gibraltar, in March. It now owns 87.5% of the mine. The production figures are reported on a 100% basis.

Sojitz sold its interest for minimum payments of C$60 million over five years, but could receive more based on production and revenue figures.

Stuart McDonald, CEO of Taseko, said in a press release that mining in the Gibraltar pit is progressing on plan and the lower benches are providing the ore quality the company expected.

The molybdenum production also represents a 60% quarterly increase due to higher grades as mining progressed deeper into the Gibraltar pit.

Taseko also noted that a port workers strike in early July caused shipping delays and a build-up of Gibraltar copper concentrate inventory.

As a result, third quarter sales volumes lagged production by 3 million lb., and the excess inventory is expected to be shipped and sold in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Taseko Mines closed Wednesday’s session 0.6% lower, with a market capitalization of roughly C$465 million.

Located in the Cariboo region of south-central British Columbia, Gibraltar is the second-largest open pit copper mine in Canada and fourth-largest in North America.

The company also recently received the last permits needed to advance its Florence in situ recovery copper project in Arizona into construction.