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Taseko eyeing major mine expansion

Alaska Highway News - By Gordon Hoekstra

February 18,2011

Taseko Mines Ltd. said it has approved plans to spend $325 million to expand copper production and recover more molybdenum at its Gibraltar mine in central B.C.

The projects includes $235 million in new plan facilities and $90 million in mining equipment.
The planned expansion still needs approval of Taseko's 25-per-cent partner Cariboo Copper Corp., a joint venture of Japan-based Sojitz Corp., Furukawa Co. Ltd. and Dowa Metals & Mining Co. Ltd.
The project would expand copper production by 50 per cent to 180 million pounds of copper a year, but also increase molybdenum production by more than one million pounds per year.
"[The project] is a good example of management's continued focus on unlocking value of our long-life assets," Taseko president and CEO Russell Hallbauer said Wednesday.
The company said a key element of the project is executing it quickly to take advantage of robust copper prices. Taseko said construction swill start in the spring, and the project is expected to be complete at the end of 2012.
The mine has already underwent two other phases of upgrades and expansions totalling $250 million.
As a supply and service centre, Prince George is expected to benefit from the project. Prince George-based companies have worked on the Gibraltar mine during the first two phases.
The mine expansion is just one of several projects either underway already, or expected to start this spring in north and central B.C.
Thompson Creek Metals is in the midst of a $500-million upgrade and expansion at its Endako molybdenum mine east of Prince George. Thompson Creek is also scheduled to start construction of the $900-million Mount Milligan gold and copper mine northwest of Prince George this spring. Western Coal has a $230-million program to expand production in northeast B.C.
Last year, the federal government rejected Taseko's $800-million Prosperity gold and copper mine near Williams Lake over significant environmental impacts identified in a review.