NEW YORK Taseko Mines Ltd.s first-quarter copper output rose 12 percent year on year, which it attributed to a new concentrator at its joint-venture Gibraltar Mine.
The Gibraltar Mine produced 23.2 million pounds of copper in the quarter, up from 20.7 million pounds of copper in same 2012 period.
Meanwhile, the mines molybdenum output fell nearly 19 percent to 355,000 pounds from 438,000 pounds in the same comparison.
Copper sales for the quarter totaled 21.5 million pounds, up 68 percent from 12.8 million pounds a year earlier, but molybdenum sales fell 4.8 percent to 337,000 pounds from 354,000 pounds.
In its first six days of operation, the Gibraltar Mines new concentrator improved throughput to 1,000 tons per hour from 500 tons per hour, and averaged more than 80-percent copper recovery, Taseko said.
"We are extremely pleased with how commissioning progressed on the new concentrator, and this is reflected in how well the system is working after only six days," Taseko president and chief executive officer Russell Hallbauer said in a statement. "We have transformed Gibraltar from 60 million pounds of annual copper production and a 40-month mine plan to a modern 165-million-pound-per-year producer with a 25-year mine life."
Taseko owns 75 percent of the Gibraltar Mine, with the remainder held by Cariboo Copper Corp.