VANCOUVER, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Taseko (TSX: TKO; NYSE MKT: TGB) (the "Company") announces first quarter 2014 total sales of 40 million pounds of copper and 589 thousand pounds of molybdenum from its 75% owned Gibraltar Mine. The significant increase in copper sales was a result of strong production for the quarter as well as a reduction in higher than normal inventory levels.
In the first quarter 2014, total production was 34.5 million pounds of copper and 566 thousand pounds of molybdenum, a 49% and 59% increase, respectively, since the first quarter 2013.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, "Our strong copper sales volumes for the quarter are a result of our successful efforts to move concentrate from the mine site to Vancouver for vessel loading prior to quarter end. These results were achieved despite inconsistent rail service due to severe winter weather in the Canadian prairies which impacted all bulk rail shippers throughout the country. Our goal is to maintain minimum inventory levels going forward."
Mr. Hallbauer added, "As anticipated, copper grade for the quarter was below the Granite Pit average grade, although slightly higher than predicted. Recoveries for both copper and molybdenum improved significantly in the quarter. Copper recovery improved from the 82% realized in the fourth quarter 2013 to 88% in March. In the first quarter, our new molybdenum separation facility operated exceptionally well with recovery rates improving each month. In March, molybdenum recovery averaged 51%, exceeding design targets. Mill availability in the first quarter improved to 90%, roughly 4% below target. While mill availability improved, a planned six-day down, for scheduled repairs to the primary crusher and conveyor system for concentrator #1, impacted total throughput which was 7.0 million tons for the quarter."