Tag Archives: molybdenum

Taseko Mines using innovation to increase production and efficiencies

The Taseko Mines story is indicative of the current environment miners find themselves in – maximise productivity to grow margins at existing operations or invest in innovative new methods of extracting critical metals that come with a reduced footprint.

The Vancouver-based company is pursuing both options at the two main assets on its books – the Gibraltar copper mine in British Columbia, Canada, and its Florence Copper project in Arizona, USA.

Gibraltar, owned 75% by Taseko, initially started up in 1972 as a 36,000 t/d operation. It was shut down in 1998 due to low copper prices before Taseko restarted it in 2004. In the years since, the company has invested over $800 million in the mine, increasing the throughput rate to 85,000 tons per day (77,111 t/d), where it’s been operating at since 2014.

The asset now sits as the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada – with life of mine average annual production of 130 MIb (59,000 t) of copper and 2.5 MIb of molybdenum.

Stuart McDonald, President and CEO of the company, says the company continues to work on the trade-off of upping throughput – potentially past the nameplate capacity – and improving metallurgical recoveries at the operation.

This became apparent in the latest quarterly results, when Taseko reported an average daily throughput of 89,400 tons/d over the three-month period alongside “higher than normal” mining dilution.

The company believes Gibraltar can improve on both counts – mill throughput and mining dilution.

“We were optimistic coming into the new pit (Gibraltar Pit) that, based on the historical data, we could go above 85,000 tons/d as we got settled in and mined the softer ore,” McDonald told IM. “We still believe there are opportunities to go beyond that level, but, at some point, it becomes an optimisation and trade-off between throughput and recoveries.

“In our business, we’re not interested in maximising mill throughput; we’re interested in maximising copper production.”

On the dilution front, McDonald believes the problem will lessen as the mining moves to deeper benches in the Gibraltar Pit.

“As we go deeper, the ore continuity improves, so we hope the dilution effect will continue to improve too,” he said.

“The dilution rate is still not quite where we want it to be, so it’s a matter of looking at our operating practices carefully and following through a grade reconciliation process from our geological model through to assays from our blast holes, assays into the shovel bucket and all the way through to the mill.”

‘Assays into the shovel bucket’?

McDonald explained: “We do use ShovelSense® technology on two of our shovels, so that helps us assess the grade of the material in the shovel bucket.”

To this point, the company has leveraged most value from this XRF-based technology, developed by MineSense, when deployed on shovels situated in the boundaries between ore and waste. This offers the potential to reclassify material deemed to be ‘waste’ in the block model as ‘ore’ and vice versa, improving the grade of the material going to the mill and reducing processing of waste.

ShovelSense has been successful in carrying out this process with accuracy at other copper mines in British Columbia, including Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper operations and Copper Mountain Mining’s namesake operation.

McDonald concluded on this grade reconciliation process: “We just have to make sure we are tracing the material through all of those steps and not losing anything along the way. Gibraltar is a big earthmoving operation, so we must continue to keep the material flowing as well as look at the head grade.”

A different type of recovery

In Arizona at Florence Copper, Taseko has a different proposition on its hands.

Florence is a project that, when fully ramped up, could produce 40,000 t of high-quality copper cathode annually for the US domestic market.

It will do this by using a metal extraction and recovery method rarely seen in the copper space – in-situ recovery (ISR).

The planned ISR facility consists of an array of injection and recovery wells that will be used to inject a weak acid solution (raffinate – 99.5% water, 0.5% acid) into copper oxide ore and recover the copper-laden solution (pregnant leach solution) for processing into pure copper cathode sheets. The mine design is based on the use of five spot well patterns, with each pattern consisting of four extraction wells in a 100 ft (30.5 m) grid plus a central injection well. This mine outline and associated infrastructure comes with a modest capital expenditure figure of $230 million.

The company has been testing the ISR technology at Florence to ensure the recovery process works and the integrity of the wells remains intact.

Since acquiring Florence Copper in November 2014, Taseko has advanced the project through the permitting, construction and operating phase of the Phase 1 Production Test Facility (PTF). The PTF, a $25 million test facility, consists of 24 wells and the SX/EW plant. It commenced operations in December 2018.

Over the course of 18 months, Taseko evaluated the operational data, confirmed project economics and demonstrated the ability to produce high-quality copper cathode with stringent environmental guidelines at the PTF, the company says.

McDonald reflected: “We produced over 1 MIb [of copper] over this timeframe and then switched over from a copper production cycle into testing our ability to rinse the orebody and restore the mining area back to the permitted conditions.

“We’re proving our ability to do the mining and the reclamation, which we think is a critical de-risking step for the project.”

Over an 18-month period, Taseko produced 1 MIb from the ISR test facility at Florence

Taseko says Florence Copper is expected to have the lowest energy and greenhouse gas-intensity (GHG) of any copper producer in North America, with McDonald saying the operation’s carbon footprint will mostly be tied to the electricity consumption required.

“Our base case is to use electricity from the Arizona grid, which has a combination of renewables, nuclear and gas-fired power plants,” he said. “In the longer-term, there are opportunities at Florence to switch to completely 100% renewable sources, with the most likely candidate being solar power.

“At that point, with renewable energy powering our plant, we could be producing a copper product with close to zero carbon associated with it.”

Gibraltar has also been labelled as a “low carbon intensity operation” by Skarn Associates who, in a 2020 report, said the operation ranked in the lowest quartile compared with other copper mines throughout the world when it comes to Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

When it comes to the question of when Florence could start producing, Taseko is able to reflect on recent successful permitting activities.

In December 2020, the company received the Aquifer Protection Permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, with the only other permit required prior to construction being the Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On September 29, the EPA concluded its public comment period on the draft UIC it issued following a virtual public hearing that, according to Taseko, demonstrated strong support for the Florence Copper project among local residents, business organisations, community leaders and state-wide organisations. Taseko says it has reviewed all the submitted comments and is confident they will be fully addressed by the EPA during its review, prior to issuing the final UIC permit.

Future improvements

In tandem with its focus on permitting and construction at Florence, and upping performance at Gibraltar, the company has longer-term aims for its operations.

For instance, the inclusion of more renewables to get Florence’s copper production to carbon-neutral status could allow the company to benefit from an expected uptick in demand for a product with such credentials. If the demand side requirements for copper continue to evolve in the expected manner, it is easy to see Taseko receiving a premium for its low- or no-carbon product over the 20-year mine life.

At Gibraltar, it is also pursuing a copper cathode strategy that could lead to the re-start of its SX-EW plant. In the past, this facility processed leachate from oxide waste dumps at the operation.

“As we get into 2024, we see some additional oxide ore coming out of the Connector Pit, which gives us the opportunity to restart that leach operation and have some additional pounds coming out of the mine,” McDonald said.

Alongside this, the company is thinking about leaching other ore types at Gibraltar.

“There are new technologies coming to the market in terms of providing mines with the opportunity to leach sulphides as well as oxides,” McDonald said. “We’re in the early stages of that work, but we have lots of waste rock at the property and, if there is a potential revenue stream for it, we will look at leveraging that.”

The Copper Mark launches pilot assurance frameworks for molybdenum, nickel and zinc

The Copper Mark says it is launching the pilot implementation of the Molybdenum, Nickel and Zinc Marks, in an effort to bring the assurance framework to more markets.

Producers of these metals are able to use the Copper Mark assurance framework to achieve their respective “Mark”, thereby signaling their leadership in sustainability and responsible production practices, the Copper Mark explained.

The main objective of the pilot is to test the implementation of the Copper Mark assurance framework for nickel, zinc and molybdenum producers. In particular, it aims to better understand the application of the multi-metal approach for single and multi-metal producers and the extent to which the multi-metal approach supports participants’ ability to meet upcoming regulatory requirements and market expectations.

The pilot is the result of a deepening collaboration between the Copper Mark, the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA), the Nickel Institute (NI), and the International Zinc Association (IZA) to promote sustainable and responsible production and sourcing practices within the copper, molybdenum, nickel and zinc value chains.

The pilot will run from November 2022 to July 2023 and will include the independent third-party site assessment of the participating sites against the Copper Mark Responsible Production Criteria, the Risk Readiness Assessment. The site may receive the Molybdenum Mark, Nickel Mark and/or Zinc Mark if the independent assessment confirms all criteria are fully or partially met. A full launch for producers of molybdenum, nickel, and zinc is planned for 2023, the Copper Mark says.

The collaboration makes use of existing standards and systems. The four organisations are not establishing any new standards. Participation in the pilot is voluntary and is open to any site involved in the extraction, processing, treatment, mixing, recycling, handling, or otherwise manipulating of products containing molybdenum, nickel, or zinc mined ore, metals, chemicals, alloys or other materials.

Michèle Brülhart, Executive Director of the Copper Mark, said: “I am excited to welcome molybdenum, nickel and zinc producers to the Copper Mark assurance framework. It is widely acknowledged that the world will require more metals and minerals in the coming decades to drive the energy transition and other sustainable applications, but it is critical that those metals and minerals be produced and sourced responsibly. This collaboration further increases the percentage of responsibly produced copper, nickel, molybdenum, and zinc available to society.”

Eva Model, Secretary-General of IMOA said: “Demonstrating responsible sourcing across the supply chain is now a necessity in our modern world. IMOA is delighted to be participating in this important pilot. It offers our molybdenum-producing members the opportunity to access a credible assurance framework with an already globally established set of criteria that can be readily adapted to the molybdenum supply chain. We look forward to working with Copper Mark, and our members to ensure the smooth delivery of the pilot.”

Hudson Bates, President of NI said: “The pilot is an important step towards our goal of providing multi-metal producers with a common framework to efficiently assess and report their sustainable production and sourcing performance across their various value chains.”

Andrew Green, Executive Director of IZA said: “The pilot implementation of this assurance framework represents our commitment to enable transparent reporting and best practices for responsible sourcing across the zinc value chain. The close collaboration between partners ensures that our members can expect harmonised.”

Rio Tinto funds initial underground development at Kennecott copper ops

Rio Tinto has approved a $55 million investment in development capital to start underground mining and expand production at its Kennecott copper operations in Utah, USA.

Underground mining will initially focus on an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS), which will deliver a total of around 30,000 t of additional high-quality mined copper through the period to 2027 alongside open-pit operations, Rio says. The first ore is expected to be produced in early 2023, with full production in the second half of the year. It will be processed through the existing facilities at Kennecott, one of only two operating copper smelters in the US.

Kennecott holds the potential for significant and attractive underground development. The LCS is the first step towards this, with a mineral resource of 7.5 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.84 g/t Au, 11.26 g/t Ag and 0.015% Mo identified based on drilling and a probable reserve of 1.7 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.71 g/t Au, 10.07 g/t Ag and 0.044% Mo.

Underground battery-electric vehicles are currently being trialled at Kennecott to improve employee health and safety, increase productivity and reduce carbon emissions from future underground mining fleets. A battery-electric haul truck and loader supplied by Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions – a Sandvik LH518B 18 t battery-electric LHD and a Sandvik Z50 50 t battery-electric haul truck – are being used to evaluate performance and suitability as part of underground development work.

Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive, Bold Baatar, said: “This investment will allow us to quickly bring additional volumes of high-quality copper to the market and build our knowledge and capabilities as we evaluate larger scale underground mining at Kennecott. We are progressing a range of options for a significant resource that is yet to be developed at Kennecott, which could extend our supply of copper and other critical materials needed for electric vehicles and renewable power technologies.

“Trialling underground battery-electric vehicles is an exciting step in our work to create a safer workplace for our employees, increase the productivity of the mine and reduce emissions from our operations. We look forward to seeing their potential for deployment.”

Existing undergound infrastructure is currently being extended to enable early access to the next underground resource and undertake characterisation studies. A feasibility study to inform decisions on the next phase of underground production is expected to be completed in 2023. This will be one of several potential stages currently being investigated.

Feasibility studies are also being progressed to extend open-pit mining at Kennecott beyond 2032.

Vast Resources forecasts production uptick as Mantis production drill rigs boost performance

Copper concentrate production at Vast Resources’ Baita Plai polymetallic (copper-gold-silver-zinc-lead-moly) mine in Romania continued to trend upwards in the June quarter, with the London-listed company expecting further output gains in the September quarter thanks to the use of a Mantis CMR4 production drill rigs that can help the company access more underground mining areas.

The June quarter results were in line with the company’s expectations, with concentrate production coming in at 268.8 t, compared with 229 t in the same quarter of 2021.

The tonnes milled for the period declined slightly by 6% to 11,292 t, with the grade rising 33% year-on-year to 0.6% Cu. Ore mined increased by 3.5% to 13,020 t for the period.

Looking forward to the September quarter and beyond, the company says it continues to forecast a substantial increase in copper concentrate tonnage produced due to the successful implementation of the Mantis CMR4 production drilling rig to access the ore on 17 level, as well as the increased ability to process ore due to the second milling circuit being commissioned, which has lifted capacity to 14,000 t/mth.

Back in May, Vast Resources announced that the first of two Mantis CMR4 production drilling rigs equipped with the latest Doofor rock drills had successfully completed functional drill testing underground. The Mantis is made by South African company Fabchem, through its subsidiary, Conax Machine Solutions, in Springs, Gauteng, which manufactures, refurbishes and repairs roof bolters and hydraulic rock drills, with its flagship manufactured products being the Mantis bolters and drills.

In addition to the increase in copper concentrate produced expected going forward, a substantial increase in the number of primary metres developed is forecast. This is due to the implementation of the second Mantis rig on the main belt incline on 18 level, whereby the original mine plan envisaged can be brought online, Vast Resources said. Current advances per blast from the main belt decline vary between 2-2.2 m per blast, which the company says is an excellent ratio to the length of hole drilled to the achieved advance.

The company explained: “The drill rig was extensively tested in a non-production environment to ascertain the capabilities of the machine for long hole production drilling. The drill rig has successfully completed a number of holes at varying inclinations, including vertically down, to depths of up to 12 m. The machine is currently deployed on 17 level in the production area drilling the first set of long holes for long hole production blasting.”

Vast Resources plans to remotely operate its Aramine L130D narrow-vein LHD

The accompanying remotely operated Aramine L130D LHD has arrived at the mine and was successfully transported underground, Vast Resources said. The machine, which is designed for narrow-vein applications, is currently undergoing testing and operator training inside the working stope below 17 level, it added.

Seabridge Gold weighs automation and trolley assist haulage for KSM project

Seabridge Gold has completed an updated prefeasibility study for its KSM Project in British Columbia, Canada, that focuses on open-pit mining only, while planning for both autonomous mine operations and trolley assist haulage.

The 2022 PFS, prepared by Tetra Tech, shows a considerably more sustainable and profitable mining operation than its 2016 predecessor, now consisting of an all open-pit mine plan that includes the Mitchell, East Mitchell and Sulphurets deposits only, it said.

The primary reasons for the improvements in the plan arise from the acquisition of the East Mitchell open-pit resource and an expansion to planned mill throughput – to 195,000 t/d, from 130,000 t/d, the company said.

The many design improvements over the 2016 PFS include a smaller environmental footprint, reduced waste rock production, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a 50% increase in mill throughput and the elimination of capital-intensive block cave mining, it added.

While total capital has been reduced to $9.6 billion (from $10.5 billion) – with increases from inflation and mill expansion being wholly offset by the elimination of block cave mining from the PFS plan – the initial capital cost has increased to $6.4 billion (from $5 billion) due to inflation.

Life of mine production (33 years) at KSM consists of 1.03 Moz of gold, 178 MIb (80,739 t) of copper, 3 Moz of silver and 4.2 MIb of molybdenum.

The open-pit-only mine production plan using ultra class mining starts in the higher grade Mitchell pit, Seabridge Gold says.  Production from the high grade upper East Mitchell zone is introduced in Year 3. Waste mined from the Sulphurets, East Mitchell and Mitchell pit is placed in the Mitchell rock storage facility (RSF) until Mitchell pit is mined out by Year 25. Final waste from East Mitchell is backfilled into the mined-out Mitchell pit from Year 25 onward along with some waste rehandled from the Mitchell RSF.

Autonomous mine operations where applicable and an integrated remote operations centre reduce on-site personnel, the company noted, while adding that electrification of the haul truck fleet with trolley assist would reduce carbon emissions and overall mine energy costs by replacing diesel with low-cost energy from electricity.

Greenland Resources makes plans to employ Doppelmayr RopeCon at Malmbjerg moly project

Greenland Resources Inc is taking a different tack to mine haulage at its Malmbjerg molybdenum project in Greenland, laying out plans in a feasibility study to use a Doppelmayr RopeCon® aerial conveyor to transport ore to the concentrator.

In a definitive feasibility study that outlined a 20-year open pit mine life with annual life of mine production of 24.1 MIb of molybdenum, Dr Ruben Shiffman, Executive Chairman, said the company had chosen to “prioritise the environment over capital expenditure”.

In addition to the planned use of a Doppelmayr rope conveyor over cheaper and less environmentally friendly diesel haul trucks – which would save the company over $80 million in capital expenditure, according to Shiffman – the company also planned to use salt water as process water in its process plant, with very low reagent concentrations to mitigate any potential environmental contamination.

The Malmbjerg project comprises of a conventional open-pit mine producing 35,000 t/d of molybdenum-rich ore for processing in a conventional base metal sulphide concentrator. The mine plan equipment fleet consists of two 34 cu.m hydraulic shovels loading 13 x 230 t haul trucks operating on 12 m benches.

The operational mining plan will utilise an economic grade control system where higher value ore will be separated and transported to the concentrator while the lower value ore will be stockpiled and processed at the end of conventional mining.

Waste rock will be stored on the west side of the deposit and used for haul road and construction activities at the mine site.

Current mining reserves dictate a mine life of 20 years where the concentrator will be fed directly from the open pit for a period of 11 years and stockpiled ore will be processed for the remaining nine years.

Ore produced from the open pit will be transported to the primary crusher and loaded onto the Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH ropeway aerial conveyor for transportation to the concentrator located 21.7 km northeast of the open pit on tidewater.

“The ropeway aerial conveyor is similar to historic ore tramline systems that are employed in challenging topography where ore surface transportation systems are not topographically and economically favourable,” Greenland Resources said. “The ropeway is expected to generate electrical power for the mine site during the life of the operation.”

The ropeway aerial conveyor discharges ore into a 35,000 t “live” stockpile at the concentrator for processing. The concentrator is of a modular design constructed on barges and transported from an overseas shipyard to the project site where the barges will be permanently located in a dedicated beach location. The 35,000 t/d concentrator modular design was selected based on the economics of offsite construction and reduced concentrate production commission time.

The life of mine average mill feed grade is 0.176% MoS2 at an estimated recovery of 84.6% MoS2.

The concentrator comprises two SAG circuits feeding a conventional multi-stage flotation circuit to produce a molybdenite-rich concentrate. Due to the four-to-six-month ice-free shipping season, concentrate will be inventoried in containers on site during the non-shipping period and shipped to end users when the shipping season commences.

The estimated initial capital for the project is $820 million with $194.4 million of this being set aside for the rope conveyor.

 

Austin wins three-year truck body/bucket support contract from KGHM Sierra Gorda mine

Austin Engineering says it has strengthened its partnership with KGHM’s Sierra Gorda Mining (SGM) by securing a three-year truck body and bucket support contract with the operation in Chile.

Austin said: “Winning the competitive contract exemplifies the high level of confidence SGM has in Austin as their long-term partner of choice to support such critical mining assets.

“Our ongoing transformation from Austin 1.0 to 2.0 and the efficiencies being delivered as a result, was key to improving our South American team, to not only compete, but win such a long-term contract.”

Austin Engineering recently concluded a strategic review of its business that identified opportunities to cut “significant costs from the business while increasing output through adopting more advanced manufacturing techniques”, Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said.

The Sierra Gorda copper-molybdenum mine is in the Atacama Desert, in the Antofagasta region, of Chile. It is located at an altitude of around 1,700 m and has a minimum annual average daily ore processing figure of 130,000 t.

Rio Tinto Kennecott to recover tellurium from copper smelting

Rio Tinto is to construct a new plant that will recover tellurium, a critical mineral used in solar panels, from copper refining at its Kennecott mine near Salt Lake City, Utah.

The company is investing $2.9 million to set up the plant, which will recover tellurium as a by-product of copper smelting, extracting a valuable mineral from waste streams. The plant will have a capacity to produce around 20 t/y of tellurium, the miner said.

Rio expects to begin production of tellurium in the December quarter of 2021, creating a new North American supply chain for the critical mineral.

Tellurium is an essential component of cadmium telluride, a semiconductor used to manufacture thin film photovoltaic solar panels. Thin films made of this compound can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, according to the miner. Tellurium can also be used as an additive to steel and copper to improve machinability, making these metals easier to cut. It can also be added to lead to increase resistance to sulphuric acid, vibration and fatigue.

Rio Tinto Kennecott Managing Director, Gaby Poirier, said: “The minerals and metals we produce are essential to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Adding tellurium to our product portfolio provides customers in North America with a secure and reliable source of tellurium produced at the highest environmental and labour standards with renewable energy. Rio Tinto is committed to using innovation to reduce waste in our production process and extract as much value as possible from the material that we mine and process.”

Utah Governor, Spencer Cox, said: “With abundant natural resources, Utah is ideally positioned to help supply the critical minerals essential to maintain American manufacturing competitiveness. Rio Tinto’s smelter at Kennecott is one of only two that is capable of producing copper and other critical minerals. The new tellurium plant is another valuable contribution to critical mineral independence and energy security in the US”

Along with producing almost 20% of US copper, Kennecott’s smelting process also recovers gold, silver, lead carbonate, platinum, palladium and selenium, while molybdenum is recovered from the Copperton concentrator. In total, nine products are currently recovered from the ore extracted at Kennecott.

Rio Tinto is a partner with the US Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and works closely with CMI experts to discover further ways to economically recover critical mineral by-products such as rhenium, tellurium and lithium. The company is also investing in new facilities to extract battery-grade lithium from waste rock at its Boron, California mine site and high quality scandium oxide from waste streams at its metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.

Almonty aims for ‘carbon neutrality’ at Sandong molybdenum mine

Almonty Industries is expanding its current environmental, social and governance (ESG) program at its Panasqueira mine in Portugal and at its Sangdong project (pictured) in South Korea, with the former set to receive a solar facility in the next 12 months and the latter eying up the use of underground electric fleets.

The solar project at Panasqueira, a tungsten mine, will see a 2.52 MW installation implemented over the next 12 months to produce 4.1 million kWh/y of renewable energy, which represents 21.5% of power consumption at the mine.

At the Sangdong tungsten mine, a third-party report will be concluded over the next three months to analyse the asset’s carbon footprint and how best to minimise it. Given the energy from the grid supplied to the Sangdong project is 100% renewable, the company says it has a “unique opportunity” to push towards carbon neutrality at the Korea site. The underground mine is currently under construction.

Lewis Black, Chairman, President and CEO of Almonty, said: “As we transition into the wider financial ETF markets of Asia and Australia, and our visibility continues to increase as a significant producer of the strategic metals of tungsten and molybdenum once Sangdong and Almonty Korea Moly opens, it has become increasingly important to ensure that we are continually reviewing and developing our ESG which sits perfectly in line with the equator principles around which the Sangdong project is being built.”

He added: “The aim for carbon neutrality at Sangdong is potentially achievable once underground electric fleets can maintain a charge for an entire shift, which is estimated to be technically possible within the next 18 months, but we are extremely fortunate that 100% of our energy comes from a renewable source making the target of carbon neutrality achievable.”

Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar operation honoured at BC Mine Reclamation Awards

Taseko Mines’s Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation has been awarded the prestigious Jake McDonald Annual Award for Metal Mine Reclamation from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR).

TRCR’s annual BC Mine Reclamation Awards, which recognises outstanding achievement in mine reclamation in British Columbia, was held on September 23, 2020.

The aim of Gibraltar’s reclamation research program is continual improvement by identifying and introducing leading-edge ideas within the field of environmental science in mine reclamation, it says. With this goal in mind, projects at Gibraltar include:

  • Sampling of salmon from the Fraser River in partnerships with the Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council to provide information to local Indigenous communities regarding the safety of consuming salmon captured at traditional fishing sites;
  • Studying and using innovative technologies to determine how reclamation activities promote the development and recovery of biological communities; and
  • Supporting BCIT, SFU, and Mitacs master’s students in a trial research program to expedite the development of soil microbial crust, specifically at the tailings storage facility.

Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said: “The Jake McDonald Award is the top mine reclamation award in British Columbia, a province that has a large mining industry. This achievement reflects the hard work of many talented people and we are honoured to have been chosen as this year’s recipient. The award adds to our track record of achievement which includes other recognition awards for employee safety and community service.”

Russell Hallbauer, CEO and Director of Taseko, added: “Gibraltar has been operating for nearly 50 years, generating opportunity for people and economic benefit for communities in the Cariboo. The efforts of our Gibraltar employees continue to be rewarded by achievements like this high-profile award. It is gratifying to see their talent and ingenuity being recognised at the highest levels. Gibraltar is proof of mining sustainability in action.

“We would specifically like to acknowledge the local Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council Fisheries Department for their partnership and traditional knowledge in the annual Fraser River salmon sampling program. As well as a thank you to the Xatśūll First Nations reclamation crew, whose participation has contributed to the success of Gibraltar’s reclamation program.”

Xatśūll First Nations Chief, Sheri Sellars, said: “I am proud of the work Xatśūll First Nation community members have done in partnership with Taseko-Gibraltar. The fish sampling program and the reclamation work have been award-winning successes. Our members have also benefitted from employment opportunities and educational initiatives which stem from our relationship with Gibraltar.”

Taseko, the 75% owner of Gibraltar, restarted the operation in 2004. It is the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada and the largest employer in the Cariboo region, according to the company.