Vancouver – Taseko Mines (TKO-V) has initiated a joint venture agreement with Ledcor CMI for the latter to takeover operations at the Gibraltar copper mine located near Williams Lake in south-central British Columbia.
The agreement calls for Ledcor to become operator with the initial task of re-commissioning the open pit copper mine for production by October 2004. Ledcor, a major British Columbia based construction and contract mining company, will be responsible for all aspects of the operation including mining equipment and personnel.
The terms of the agreement are expected to be finalized over the next 4-6 weeks and will include labour contract negotiations with previous workers from the mine.
Additionally, a long-term copper concentrate sales contract has been signed with Swiss-based Glencore, a major international metals buyer, whereby they are to purchase 100% of mine production for a term of 40 months.
The Gibraltar mine operated from 1972 to 1993 and from 1994 until late-1998 when low copper prices forced operations to cease. Average annual production was 80 million pounds of copper and 700,000 pounds of molybdenum. There is an estimated sulphide mineral resource of 745 million tonnes averaging 0.3% copper (4.7 billion pounds of copper), using a 0.2% copper cut-off grade. This includes a measured and indicated resource of 149 million tonnes of 0.31% copper and 0.01% molybdenum outlined in the 12-year mine plan.
Taseko Mines acquired the Gibraltar mine in 1999. The company also holds the Prosperity copper-gold porphyry project in south-central B.C. and the Harmony gold property in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.
As of the latest figures, the company has 84.2 million shares outstanding.