Taseko Mines Limited (TSX: TKO) (NYSE American: TGB) is pleased to announce that Taseko’s Florence Copper production test facility is fully operational, from the wellfield to the SX/EW plant, and producing copper.
Over the past three months approximately 1.5 million tons of copper ore has been contacted underground with leach solution. Copper concentrations in the solution has recently risen to levels which have allowed the SX/EW plant to begin operation and produce copper.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko commented, “As expected, and reported in our 2017 technical report, the initial leaching period has taken approximately three months and all results are in line with expectations. The scale up from our laboratory and feasibility testing to the commercial scale has been relatively seamless. With the entire test wellfield and SX/EW plant now operating as a continuous unit, we will use the coming months to refine operational parameters which will help with the ramp up of the commercial plant. The proportion of ore contacted underground with leach solution (known as “Sweep Efficiency”) has been very encouraging to-date. Our modelling predicted a 55% Sweep Efficiency after the first year of leaching and we have already achieved that level after the first three months.”
Mr. Hallbauer continued, “We have always maintained a high level of confidence in the comprehensive technical work we have undertaken on the in situ process. The data we continue to collect from the many observation, monitoring and point-of-compliance wells is demonstrating the integrity of our injection and recovery process. Not only is the data proving that we are able to maintain hydraulic control of the leach solution underground, but it is providing valuable data to validate our leach model as well as optimize well designs and performance and hydraulic control parameters.”
“We have steadily advanced the project towards commercial production, de-risking it considerably from when we acquired Florence Copper in 2014, and we expect to have a financing package in place and to be starting construction of the commercial facility in the next 12 months. Florence Copper will produce an average of 85 million pounds of copper annually for 20 years at an average operating cost of US$1.10 per pound. With a net present value of roughly C$1 billion, there is a huge disconnect with Taseko’s market capitalization. This valuation gap should close considerably in the coming months as we move closer to the construction of the lowest capital intensity project in the world, that will have operating costs in the lowest quartile of the industry,” concluded Mr. Hallbauer.
The content of this release was reviewed and approved by Dan Johnson PE, Vice-President/General Manager for Florence Copper, Inc., and a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.
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