- Our Town
Gibraltar's copper production up 35 per cent
The numbers are in for 2013, showing a significant increase in copper production at Gibraltar Mine.
In a report released Wednesday, Taseko Mines Ltd. said it produced 35 per cent more copper in 2013, totalling 121.5 million pounds of copper — and 10 per cent more molybdenum, totalling 1.5 million pounds.
Taseko’s president and CEO Russell Hallbauer said the company is pleased with the ramp up of the new concentrator, which is now operating at design capacity.
“Overall, the two concentrators are performing very well, although there remains work to be done optimizing the copper recovery circuits,” he said. “Significant recovery improvements were achieved in the new molybdenum separation facility during the fourth quarter with molybdenum recoveries averaging 31 per cent, a 79 per cent increase from that achieved in the third quarter.”
In the fourth quarter, daily mill throughput averaged 82,400 tons per day, an 81 per cent increase over the same period a year ago.
This was achieved even though mill availability was seven per cent below target, which vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison explained happens when the mill is down for maintenance or equipment changes.
The increase in production is the kind of performance that’s expected from the recent investments made in the mine, he added.
When it comes to optimizing copper recovery circuits, mine’s do not expect to retrieve 100 per cent of the copper from the rock.
“You get as much as you can get, but you work to improve the recovery,” Battison said.
Slightly more than 700 people are presently employed at the mine.
“It’s actually quite the success story,” Battison said. “You look at an old facility that was destined to be bulldozed in 1999, and turn it into a state-of-the-art mining facility, and achieve this kind of performance.”
2013 fourth quarter total sales were 37.4 million pounds of copper and 500 thousand pounds of molybdenum. Fourth quarter copper inventories were reduced from the previous quarter, however, they remained higher than normal due to a delayed shipment at the end of the year.