TASEKO ANNOUNCES 2010 OPERATING PROFIT OF $126 MILLION
VANCOUVER, March 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Taseko Mines Limited (TSX: TKO) (NYSE Amex:
TGB) (“Taseko” or the “Company”) reports the results for the twelve and
three months ended December 31, 2010. This release should be read with
the Company’s Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis
(“MD&A”), available at www.tasekomines.com and filed on www.sedar.com. Except where otherwise noted, all currency amounts are stated in
Canadian dollars. Taseko’s 75% (effective March 31, 2010) owned
Gibraltar Mine is located north of the City of Williams Lake in
south-central British Columbia. Sales and production volumes reflected
in this release are on a 100% basis unless otherwise indicated.
For the year ended December 31, 2010, Taseko had an operating profit of
$125.5 million and net earnings of $148.6 million ($0.80 per share).
This compares to an operating profit of $48.3 million and net earnings
of $10.6 million ($0.06 per share) for the year ended December 31,
2009. Revenue for 2010 was $278.5 million from the sale of 86.3 million
pounds of copper and 0.9 million pounds of molybdenum at average
realized prices of US$3.66 per pound and US$16.32 per pound,
For the three months ending December 31, 2010, Taseko had an operating
profit of $57.5 million and net earnings of $25.3 million ($0.14 per
share). Total sales for the fourth quarter were 33.6 million pounds of
copper and 0.3 million pounds of molybdenum at average realized prices
of US$4.12 per pound and US$16.24 per pound, respectively.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko commented, “Strong
financial performance in 2010 was driven by improved copper production
and the rising copper price environment. 2010 copper production
increased by over 30% compared to 2009 and molybdenum production
increased by 50% over the same period. These improvements are a result
of the ongoing investments in mine and concentrator equipment. The
strength of the Canadian dollar, up 33% since the first half of 2009,
has had a material impact on Gibraltar’s US dollar denominated
operating costs. In the past year alone, the change in exchange rate
has increased total costs by approximately US$0.17 per pound.”
Mr. Hallbauer continued, “As announced in February, we are moving
forward with a further capacity increase at Gibraltar. This $325
million investment will allow us to leverage the strong copper price
environment and further enhance Taseko’s cash flow generating ability.”
Mr. Hallbauer added, “In late 2010, after receiving both the
Environmental Assessment Certificate and a long-term mining lease from
the Province of British Columbia for our Prosperity project, the
Federal Government stated that the project could not proceed as it was
proposed. Due to strengthening long-term copper and gold fundamentals,
we were able to modify the project and address the concerns of the
Federal Government. This new plan was submitted to the Federal
Government in recent weeks and we are confident that it will ultimately
be accepted and our Prosperity project will move forward.”
Mr. Hallbauer concluded, “We also completed a very successful
exploration drilling program on our Aley Niobium project in northern
British Columbia. This work has provided management with enough
certainty that we will move forward with a comprehensive program in
2011, including extensive core drilling to delineate the deposit and
collect preliminary geo-technical data for site design as well as
metallurgical testwork. Our goal is to commence a feasibility study in
the fourth quarter of 2011.”
The Gibraltar mine is located north of the City of Williams Lake in
south-central British Columbia. The following sales and production
volumes and prices are on a 100% basis.
-- Copper-in-concentrate sales for the three months ended December 31, 2010 were 32.7 million pounds compared to 16.2 million pounds sold during the three months ended December 31, 2009. -- There were 0.9 million pounds of copper cathode sold in the three months ended December 31, 2010 compared to 0.6 million pounds sold in the three months ended December 31, 2009. -- The average price realized for sales of copper during the three months ended December 31, 2010 was US$4.12 per pound, compared to US$3.10 per pound realized in the three months ended December 31, 2009. The realized price included adjustments on final invoices related to prior quarters. -- Molybdenum-in-concentrate sales for the three months ended December 31, 2010 were 261,000 pounds compared to 97,000 pounds sold in the three months ended December 31, 2009. -- The average price realized for sales of molybdenum for the three months ended December 31, 2010 was US$16.24 per pound, compared to US$12.01 per pound realized in the three months ended December 31, 2009.
-- Copper-in-concentrate sales increased to 84.8 million pounds for the year ended December 31, 2010 from the 65.9 million pounds sold during the year ended December 31, 2009. -- Copper cathode sales decreased in the year ended December 31, 2010 to 1.5 million pounds compared to 2.2 million pounds in the year ended December 31, 2009. -- The average price realized for sales of copper in the year ended December 31, 2010 was US$3.66 per pound, compared to US$2.31 per pound realized in the year ended December 31, 2009. -- Molybdenum-in-concentrate sales increased to 924,000 pounds in the year ended December 31, 2010 from 692,000 pounds sold in the year ended December 31, 2009. -- The average price realized for sales of molybdenum for the year ended December 31, 2010 was US$16.32 per pound, compared to US$11.02 per pound realized in the year ended December 31, 2009.
-- Copper-in-concentrate inventory at December 31, 2010 was 5.0 million pounds compared to 3.8 million pounds at December 31, 2009. -- Copper cathode inventory at December 31, 2010 was 0.5 million pounds compared to 0.1 million pounds at December 31, 2009. -- Molybdenum-in-concentrate inventory at December 31, 2010 was 33,000 pounds compared to 16,000 pounds at December 31, 2009.
The following table is a summary of operating statistics (100%):
_____________________________________________________________________ | | Year | Year |Three months|Three months| | | ended | ended | ended | ended | | |December 31,|December 31,|December 31,|December 31,| | | 2010 | 2009 | 2010 | 2009 | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Total tons mined | 52.3 | 34.9 | 15.6 | 11.3 | |(millions)1 | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Tons of ore | 15.0 | 13.0 | 3.9 | 3.2 | |milled (millions)| | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Stripping ratio | 2.5 | 1.8 | 2.9 | 2.2 | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Copper grade | 0.338 | 0.319 | 0.333 | 0.319 | |(%) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Molybdenum grade | 0.012 | 0.011 | 0.012 | 0.010 | |(%) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Copper recovery | 89.2 | 82.3 | 89.1 | 84.1 | |(%) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Molybdenum | 25.5 | 24.4 | 29.8 | 20.9 | |recovery (%) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Copper production| 92.3 | 70.3 | 23.4 | 17.4 | |(millions lb)2 | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Molybdenum | 941 | 629 | 276 | 113 | |production | | | | | |(thousands lb) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Foreign exchange | 1.03 | 1.14 | 1.01 | 1.06 | |($C/$US) | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Copper production| US$1.34 | US$1.24 | US$1.38 | US$1.67 | |costs, net of | | | | | |by-product | | | | | |credits3, per lb | | | | | |of copper | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Off-property | US$0.36 | US$0.30 | US$0.49 | US$0.31 | |costs for | | | | | |transport, | | | | | |treatment & | | | | | |marketing per lb | | | | | |of copper | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________| |Total cash costs | US$1.70 | US$1.54 | US$1.87 | US$1.98 | |of production per| | | | | |lb of copper4 | | | | | |_________________|____________|____________|____________|____________|
(1)( Total tons)( mined includes sulphide ore, low grade stockpile material, overburden,
and waste rock which were moved from within pit limit to outside pit
limit during the period.)
(2)( Copper production includes concentrate and cathode.)
(3)( By-product credit is calculated on actual period sales.)
(4)( See Se)(ction 1.16.5.)
Total tons mined in 2010 were higher than in 2009 in order to meet the
increased processing capacity of the mill and to operate closer to the
deposit average strip ratio based on continued strength in the price of
copper. The Gibraltar concentrator continued to perform well on copper
recovery while throughput steadily increased toward the targeted 55,000
tons per day level. Copper and molybdenum production levels have been
increasing throughout the year, due to the completion of concentrator
capital projects, increased mill throughput, and an increase in the
copper head grade and recovery.
Total per pound cash costs of production for the year ended December 31,
2010 were higher than the same period 2009 as a result of increased
stripping ratio (US$0.17), strengthening Canadian dollar against the US
dollar (US$0.17), higher prices for fuel, reagents and grinding media
(US$0.05), and increased off property transportation costs (US$ 0.06)
for the year. These increased costs were partially offset by lower
mining and milling costs realized from new equipment (US$0.23) and
increased molybdenum by-product value (US$0.06).
Infrastructure and Mining Fleet Upgrades
The new in-pit 60-inch by 89-inch crusher and overland conveyor system
was completed and commissioned mid-2010. The system is designed to
reduce operating costs and improve mine productivity by replacing the
original Gibraltar crusher and supplanting approximately three
diesel-powered haulage trucks with an electrically driven overland
Replacement of the single-line tailings system with a two-line system
and substitution of the natural gas-fired concentrate dryer with a
filter press was completed in 2010. This equipment reduces operating
costs and provides a more stable operating platform, and will be able
to manage increased volume as mill throughput increases.
Construction of the SAG direct feed system was started in the third
quarter of 2010. The system is designed to improve mill availability,
increase throughput and reduce costs by eliminating the complicated
secondary crusher and fine ore feed system. The new direct feed system
will also allow larger mill feed more appropriate for autogenous
grinding than can be achieved with the current system. The direct feed
system is scheduled to be commissioned during the second quarter of
The Gibraltar mine has continued to invest in the mining fleet during
the year, purchasing four new 320 ton capacity haulage trucks all of
which have been delivered to the mine. Two of the trucks were assembled
and put into operation in October and the second two became operational
in December. Also, the construction of a new Bucyrus 495 cable shovel
was completed and the machine was commissioned in October 2010.
Copper production for the year ended December 31, 2010 (92.3 million
pounds) was 31% higher than in 2009 (70.3 million pounds) as a result
of the investments and operational improvements which have occurred at
Taseko holds a 100% interest in the Prosperity project, located 125
kilometers southwest of the City of Williams Lake. The property hosts
a large porphyry gold-copper deposit amenable to open pit mining.
On January 14, 2010, the Company received the environmental assessment
certificate for the Prosperity project from the British Columbia
Provincial Ministry of Environment. The Provincial Mines Act permit
application was submitted to the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and
Petroleum Resources in June 2010 but was put in abeyance following the
November Federal decision as discussed below.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment process, in which public hearings
were conducted by a three-person panel (“Federal Panel”) operating
under defined Terms of Reference, concluded on May 3, 2010. The Federal
Panel submitted its findings to the Federal Minister of Environment on
July 2, 2010.
Taseko was advised on November 2, 2010, that the Government of Canada
would not proceed with permitting on the Prosperity project as it was
“currently proposed”. The Company has reviewed and revised its plan
and has put forth a new design proposal, which adds construction costs
and life of mine operating expenditures of approximately $300 million
to the original design. The new plan addresses the concerns identified
during the Federal Review process and on February 21, 2011 the Company
submitted the new Project Description for the Prosperity gold-copper
project to the Government of Canada.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ |Taseko will host a conference call on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (8:00 a.m. Pacific) to discuss these | |results. The conference call may be accessed by dialing (877) 303-9079, or (970) 315-0461 internationally. A live and archived| |audio webcast will also be available at | |www.tasekomines.com.| |The conference call will be archived for later playback until March 24, 2011 and can be accessed by dialing (800) 642-1687 in | |Canada and the United States, or (706) 645-9291 internationally and using the passcode 42049615. | |_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________|
President and CEO
No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved of the information
in this news release.
Forward Looking Statements
This document contains “forward-looking statements” that were based on
Taseko’s expectations, estimates and projections as of the dates as of
which those statements were made. Generally, these forward-looking
statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology
such as “outlook”, “anticipate”, “project”, “target”, “believe”,
“estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “should” and similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual
results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be
materially different from those expressed or implied by such
forward-looking statements. These included but are not limited to:
-- uncertainties and costs related to the Company's exploration and development activities, such as those associated with continuity of mineralization or determining whether mineral resources or reserves exist on a property; -- uncertainties related to the accuracy of our estimates of mineral reserves, mineral resources, production rates and timing of production, future production and future cash and total costs of production and milling; -- uncertainties related to feasibility studies that provide estimates of expected or anticipated costs, expenditures and economic returns from a mining project; -- uncertainties related to our ability to complete the mill upgrade on time estimated and at the scheduled cost; -- uncertainties related to the ability to obtain necessary licenses permits for development projects and project delays due to third party opposition; -- uncertainties related to unexpected judicial or regulatory proceedings; -- changes in, and the effects of, the laws, regulations and government policies affecting our exploration and development activities and mining operations, particularly laws, regulations and policies; -- changes in general economic conditions, the financial markets and in the demand and market price for copper, gold and other minerals and commodities, such as diesel fuel, steel, concrete, electricity and other forms of energy, mining equipment, and fluctuations in exchange rates, particularly with respect to the value of the U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar, and the continued availability of capital and financing; -- the effects of forward selling instruments to protect against fluctuations in copper prices and exchange rate movements and the risks of counterparty defaults, and mark to market risk; -- the risk of inadequate insurance or inability to obtain insurance to cover mining risks; -- the risk of loss of key employees; the risk of changes in accounting policies and methods we use to report our financial condition, including uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and estimates; -- environmental issues and liabilities associated with mining including processing and stock piling ore; and -- labour strikes, work stoppages, or other interruptions to, or difficulties in, the employment of labour in markets in which we operate mines, or environmental hazards, industrial accidents or other events or occurrences, including third party interference that interrupt the production of minerals in our mines.
For further information on Taseko, investors should review the Company’s
annual Form 40-F filing with the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission www.sec.gov and home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE Taseko Mines Limited