VANCOUVER, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Taseko (TSX: TKO; NYSE MKT: TGB) (the "Company") announces 2013 first quarter production of 23.2 million pounds of copper and 355 thousand pounds of molybdenum (on a 100% basis) at its 75% owned Gibraltar Mine.
Total sales in the first quarter were 21.5 million pounds of copper and 337 thousand pounds of molybdenum. Taseko's 75% share of first quarter sales was 16.1 million pounds of copper and 253 thousand pounds of molybdenum.
Following a planned ten week commissioning schedule, Concentrator #2 (GDP3) was officially turned over to the operations team on March 28 th. Over the first six days of operation, throughput steadily climbed from 500 tons per hour to the present rate of 1,000 tons per hour as ball charge rates are being increased toward design criteria. The new concentrator has averaged 80% availability with copper recoveries over 80%. During this period, the combined throughput of the two concentrators has averaged 74,000 tons per day at an 82% copper recovery.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, "We are extremely pleased with how commissioning progressed on the new concentrator, and this is reflected in how well the system is working after only six operating days. Early results from Concentrator #2 performance are as expected and we anticipate advancing to design capacity as expeditiously as the mechanical circuits allow. This is in line with our projections of full design throughput of 30,000 tons per day by mid-year. Additionally, improved operating performance is anticipated from Concentrator #1 as it is now unencumbered by construction activities."Mr. Hallbauer continued, "We have transformed Gibraltar from 60 million pounds of annual copper production and a 40-month mine plan to a modern 165 million pound per year producer with a 25 year mine life. This was achieved at the lowest capital cost of any major mining project in the world. We look forward to demonstrating both our production and cost capabilities in 2013." Note: Gibraltar is a Joint Venture owned by Taseko Mines Limited (75%) and Cariboo Copper Corp. (25%). All production figures are reported on a 100% basis. Russell Hallbauer President and CEO No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved of the information contained in this news release.