Taseko Mines Limited has announced a Phase II expansion of the Gibraltar Mine to further increase milling capacity, complementing the Phase I expansion now underway.
Ongoing drilling has indicated that significant mineral resources will be upgraded to reserves in the near future. As a result, Gibraltar has begun detailed engineering to add capacity to the Phase I expansion, ultimately increasing the Gibraltar concentrator throughput to 55,000 tons per day when complete.
The $40 million Phase II expansion will include adding crushing and regrind capacity, additional flotation cells, and tailings and ancillary system upgrades. It will be developed in conjunction with and as a continuation of the Phase I expansion. The ore processing capacity of the concentrator will increase from 36,750 tpd to 46,000 tpd by the end of 2007, reaching 55,000 tpd by late 2008. Early procurement, securing delivery times of key equipment, will be essential to ensure timely completion.
“The continued modernization and expansion of the Gibraltar Mine is a reflection of its long reserve life,” said Russell Hallbauer, president and CEO, Taseko Mines. “We are effectively building a new, modern 55,000 tpd mine and concentrator with our Phase I and Phase II expansions for about $130 million including equipment and associated infrastructure, with no interruption to current copper and molybdenum production. When these two expansions are complete, Gibraltar is expected to produce, on average, 120 million pounds of copper (in concentrate and cathode) and 1.4 million pounds of molybdenum annually over its projected mine life.”
Located in south-central British Columbia near the city of Williams Lake, the 36,000 ton per day Gibraltar Mine was originally developed in 1972 by Placer Development, the predecessor to Placer Dome. Having closed in 1998 (then owned by Boliden) due to low copper prices, Gibraltar Mine was acquired by Taseko a year later and operations resumed in 2004 amid strong market conditions for both copper and molybdenum.
The Gibraltar site covers approximately 109 square kilometres and consists primarily of 251 mineral claims and 30 mining leases. It contains seven separate mineralized zones. With well-developed infrastructure, the property is accessible by a combination of highways and paved roads, and is close to a rail network for shipment of copper concentrates to the port of North Vancouver.