Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett addresses the crowd during the grand opening celebration of the Gibraltar Mine expansion held at the mine site’s brand new truck maintenance shop on Thursday

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett addresses the crowd during the grand opening celebration of the Gibraltar Mine expansion held at the mine site’s brand new truck maintenance shop on Thursday

Slideshow: Gibraltar Mine celebrates grand opening of its expansion

Gibraltar Mine celebrates the grand opening of its expansion with a huge party at the mine site north of Williams Lake.



As the chartered bus winds its way up the 17-km road to Taseko’s Gibraltar Mine in the Cariboo region of B.C., most of the passengers on board are employees and their partners. They and hundreds of other employees have been invited to celebrate the grand opening of the mine’s expansion, completed earlier this year.

Taseko’s CEO will later tell the crowd the mine has gone from 10 employees in 2006 to almost 700 today.  With the expansion production has increased from 30,000 tons to 80,000 tons a day.

When the mine comes into view, the employees on the bus joke about the work place and some of the fun they have with different fellow workers.

“Every crew has its characters,” equipment  operator Marlin Froese pipes up.

While employees, managers, Taseko’s upper management and board members, politicians and other big players in the mining world  arrive on site they are directed to the brand new truck maintenance shop where a big party is underway.

Blue and white balloon arches, a huge mine truck for a backdrop and music wafting from a Vancouver-based production crew greet guests.

Vice-president and mine manager Dave Roleau, clad in a cowboy hat, black suit jacket and jeans, opens the formal speeches.

“The people gathered in this room are responsible for the success of Taseko,” Roleau says.

Top of the list, he adds, are mine site employees. His comment sparks cheers and applause.

Jackson Davies of The Beachcombers fame, plays the role of a new mine employee. Mill foreman Rod Foster plays the guitar and sings when lunch is being served.

Also in attendance are Taseko’s Japanese partners who have travelled from Japan for the celebration.

Making her tallest entrance to date, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett arrives standing on the  deck of a haul truck that pulls up beside one of the shop’s truck bays.

From her 15-foot vantage point, dressed in orange coveralls, a hard hat and safety glasses, Barnett  addresses the crowd.

“Hi, what’s going on here doesn’t anybody work anymore?” she chides.

Referencing May’s provincial election, Barnett says the people elected a government that says “yes” to jobs and a mine called Prosperity.

“Look what we have here, a company that cares about the Cariboo, about families and about jobs,” she says of Taseko.

“Today is about celebrating Gibraltar,” Barnett challenges. “We need to work together to get New Prosperity opened in the future.”

Hallbauer, a mining engineer by trade, says he was reminded of a conversation some mining people had with his mining engieer father almost 50 years ago.

“My father said the Gibraltar deposit would become one of the great mines in Canada,” Hallbauer recalls. “It turns out he was right.”

Less than 10 years later Gibraltar was built and today is looking to operate for another 40 years, he says.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Drier weather good for calving season

My partner and I team up to look for any newborns and note them for later in the day

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 president David Brideau salutes the Cenotaph at city hall during a past Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Monday, Nov. 11. Brideau, who served three years with the Canadian military in Edmonton, was the parade commander during the Legion’s Remembrance Day service. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake legion looks to upgrade lounge, patio, to be COVID compliant

Upgrades will require significant financial investment, Branch 139 president David Brideau said

Williams Lake’s Daine Dubois (left) and 150 Mile House’s Isaac Bedford have been named as recipients of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport. (Tribune file photos)
Two Cariboo athletes honoured with Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport

“You have honoured the province, your nations, and your families.”

A worker at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
B.C. Mining Month celebrates innovation

Mining has long been important to the Williams Lake economy

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Most Read