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Taseko announces permitting success

Published by
Global Mining Review,

Taseko Mines Ltd has announced that the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an order denying any further review of the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit granted in 2016 for Taseko's Florence Copper Project. The EAB found that the petitioners failed to demonstrate any errors were made in issuing the federal permit.

Coinciding with this permitting decision, Taseko's Board of Directors has given management approval to move forward with the construction of a Production Test Facility (PTF). Estimated remaining costs to construct the PTF are US$25 million.

"We are very pleased with the Environmental Appeals Board decision, which is another significant milestone for our Florence Copper Project. We now have all necessary state and federal permits in place to build and operate the PTF," commented Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko.

"Our Board of Directors, after a thorough review of current market conditions, the Company's financial position and the status of permitting in Arizona, have endorsed management's view that the best course of action is to accelerate the construction of the PTF," continued Mr. Hallbauer. "Over the past year, Florence personnel have been advancing on-the-ground activities and have spent roughly US$4 million specific to the PTF. With major components already on site, the timeline to having the test facility operational is in the latter half of 2018 and involves the construction of an SX/EW facility and the drilling of observation, injection and recovery wells."

"At US$4700 per tonne of installed capacity, Florence Copper is one of the lowest capital intensity copper projects in the world. The economics of the Project are too compelling for us to not be rapidly advancing the project towards commercial production, especially as a significant global copper deficit approaches. Successful operation of the PTF will be a major step towards realising the US$920 million net present value of the project. As we continue to move towards commercial production, we fully expect this value to be reflected in our share price," concluded Mr. Hallbauer.

The results from two additional years of engineering work and technical studies were announced, which enhanced project economics even further than the original feasibility study.

Highlights of the project include:

  • Pre-tax net present value of US$920 million at a 7.5% discount rate.
  • Pre-tax internal rate of return of 44% with a 2.3 year payback.
  • Long-term copper price of US$3.00/lb.
  • Operating costs of US$1.10 per pound LME grade cathode copper.
  • Average annual production of 81 million/lb of copper.
  • 21 year operational life.
  • Total production in excess of 1.7 billion/lb of copper.
  • Total pre-production capital cost of US$200 million.
  • The content of this release was reviewed and approved by Dan Johnson PE, Vice-President/General Manager for Florence Copper Inc., and a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.

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