[Ferro-Alloys.com] British Columbia-based base metals producer Taseko Mines has produced 41.3-million pounds of copper and 900 000 lbs of molybdenum during the first quarter ended March, which was marginally higher than the fourth quarter, but benefitted from continued relative copper price strength and a molybdenum price rally.
Management stated in a press release that the production results represent a continuation of the strong operating performance in the fourth quarter, in which its flagship and only producing asset Gibraltar produced 40.7million pounds of copper and 800 000 lbs of molybdenum.
Total sales for the first three months of 2017 were 40.8million pounds of copper and 900 000 lbs of molybdenum.
Taseko advised that the Gibraltar operation continued to benefit from higher-than-average ore grades.
Further, For the second consecutive quarter since it was restarted, Gibraltar's molybdenum plant operated at boilerplate capacity. Revenue from molybdenum sales provides a significant by-product credit towards total operating costs.
Total operating costs were about 5% to 10% lower than the previous quarter’s costs of $1.48/lb, boosted by increased molybdenum by-product credits and reduced site operating costs.
"Gibraltar throughput, grade and recoveries were all in line with our operating budget and the previous quarter. The strong operational results will translate into another quarter of impressive financial results as operating costs remained low and copper and molybdenum pricing were both higher,” president and CEO Russell Hallbauer stated.
During the quarter, the London Metals Exchange average price was roughly $2.65/lb, 10% higher than the fourth quarter last year.
Molybdenum pricing has steadily been rising as well and is now close to $9/lb, from about $7.50/lb last quarter.
“We believe that in spite of some South American mines restarting over the past few weeks, the market will benefit from improving global demand and a tight copper supply going forward," according to Hallbauer.
Meanwhile, Taseko announced Wednesday that a new, long-term agreement was ratified by its unionised employees at Gibraltar. The new agreement will be in place until May 31, 2021.
Hallbauer described the deal as “fair”, and benefits both the unionised employees and Taseko.
The Gibraltar mine is a joint venture owned 75% by Taseko and 25% by Cariboo Copper.
- [Editor:Jiang Li Juan ]