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Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Taseko (TSX: TKO; NYSE Amex: TGB) (the "Company") announces 2012 third quarter total production of 23.7 million pounds of copper and 276,000 pounds of molybdenum at its 75% owned Gibraltar Mine.
Total sales for the quarter were 21.5 million pounds of copper and 279,000 pounds of molybdenum. Taseko's 75% share of total sales was 16.1 million pounds of copper and 209,000 pounds of molybdenum which compares to 19.8 million and 271,000 pounds in the second quarter.
During the third quarter, mill throughput and production were reduced due to significant planned downtime associated with GDP3 tie-ins. Concentrator throughput continued to improve during the quarter and, factoring in mill availability, operated at 95% of its designed 55,000 tons per day capacity in September.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, "With the GDP2 ramp up effectively behind us, our attention will turn to operating cost containment. In certain areas, such as labour and mining operations, our operating costs are expected to remain elevated through the completion and commissioning of GDP3. Most of the required labour force to operate the GDP3 concentrator has already been hired and is currently training and job shadowing. While this comes at a cost, it is expected to facilitate an efficient ramp up."
Mr. Hallbauer continued, "There are, however, other cost elements in the mine and mill operations where we have identified significant opportunities for improvement and expect to see a downward trend starting in the first quarter of 2013. Our focus has always been on long-term reduction of unit costs and we believe further efficiencies will be gained once GDP3 achieves design capacity mid next year."
Construction activities for GDP3 are advancing and the project remains on-time and on budget. Commissioning of the new molybdenum plant is expected to start in November and the new concentrator in December. In the fourth quarter, the final tie ins and wet commissioning for the new molybdenum plant and GDP3 concentrator will have an impact on current operations.