TSX-listed Taseko Mines on Tuesday reported a net loss of C$4.67-million for the quarter ended June 30, compared with net income of C$5.25-million in the second quarter of 2017.
Adjusted net income of C$2.34-million was also lower than the net income of C$14.31-million reported for the prior comparable year.
Copper and molybdenum production, however increased to 33.5-million pounds and 506 000 lb, respectively, compared with the 22.9-million pounds of copper and 443 000 lb of molybdenum produced in the second quarter of 2017, as a result of higher grades and recoveries.
“Following six months of lower head grade at Gibraltar, mining operations returned to plan and copper grades increased by [about] 50% in the second quarter, as compared to the previous two quarters,” president and CEO Russell Hallbauer commented.
Total sales for the quarter were 32.2-million pounds of copper and 400 000 lb of molybdenum.
The company’s cash balance at June 30 was $52-million, down from $64-million at the end of the first quarter, partially owing to cash used for construction of the Florence Copper Production Testing Facility (PTF).
Further, Hallbauer noted that the Florence PTF project continues to advance on time and on budget, with wellfield construction completed in April.
“We have recently conducted a number of wellfield tests with very encouraging results that meet or exceed the bench-scale testing used for the 2017 technical report.”
Hallbauer expects to begin injecting solutions and pre-leaching the deposit in August, which should run concurrently with the commissioning of the solvent extraction and electrowinning (SW-EW) plant.
“First cathode is anticipated before the end of December,” he added.
He stated that “Florence is an extremely valuable asset”, given the ongoing tariffs and trade disputes among the world’s largest copper consumers. He cited the US tariffs impacting around 600 000 t/y refined copper, and that this combined with the limited new copper production capacity in the US, further supported the development of the PTF.
“Demand for molybdenum remains strong and continues to reflect a tight market. We experienced some recovery issues with our molybdenum circuit in the second quarter,” Hallbauer pointed out.
However, the circuit issues have been resolved and Taseko expects molybdenum production to increase in the remainder of this year.Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online