Tag Archives: Stuart McDonald

Metso Outotec VSFX solvent extraction tech set for Taseko’s Florence Copper Project

Metso Outotec has signed an agreement with Florence Copper Inc, a subsidiary of Taseko Mines Ltd, to supply copper solvent extraction and electrowinning technology for a plant to be built in Arizona, USA.

The order, exceeding €20 million ($24 million), has been booked in the Metals’ segment September quarter orders received.

The Metso Outotec delivery includes the modular VSF®X solvent extraction plant and the main process equipment for the electrowinning plant.

“We are very excited to have purchased the key SX/EW process equipment from Metso Outotec, a world leader in mineral processing and hydrometallurgical technologies,” Stuart McDonald, President and CEO of Taseko Mines, says. “The VSFX technology is ideally suited for our Florence Copper Project, which is set to become one of the most energy-efficient and low-carbon copper producers in the world. The modular nature of the equipment will reduce construction time and allow Florence to commence copper production quicker than with other technologies available.”

Back in February, Taseko, having just completed a $400 million bond refinancing and fundraising program, said it was moving forward with developing a commercial operation at its Florence in-situ recovery project.

Jari Ålgars, President of the Metals business area at Metso Outotec, says: “We are looking forward to working with Taseko Mines on the Florence Copper Project. The energy-efficient VSFX solvent extraction plant, which is part of our Planet Positive product range, reduces emissions and is safe to operate. The Florence Copper Project will become an important new reference for Metso Outotec in the US copper market as a supplier of a complete production plant that uses solvent extraction and electrowinning technology for copper recovery.”

Taseko Mines starts commercial construction move at Florence ISR copper project

Taseko Mines, having just completed a $400 million bond refinancing and fundraising program, is moving forward with developing a commercial operation at its Florence in-situ recovery (ISR) copper project in Arizona, USA.

Capital requirements for the commercial production facility at Florence, which followed an ISR pilot project, are estimated at $230 million.

Pending final regulatory approvals and financing, Taseko has previously stated it could start construction of the commercial operation this year, with first production in late 2022.

Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said: “With the majority of the required funding for our Florence Copper project now in hand, we are moving forward with final design engineering of the commercial production facility as well as procurement of certain critical components.”

McDonald said the company is continuing to advance discussions with potential joint venture partners at Florence, but its strong cash balance and improved Gibraltar mine cash flows from copper prices currently over $3.70/Ib ($8,159/t) means it has “numerous options available” to obtain the remaining funding.

Russell Hallbauer, CEO of Taseko, added on Florence: “Florence is one of the least capital-intensive copper production facilities in the world and, when fully ramped up, will produce 40,000 t of high-quality cathode copper annually for the US domestic market.

“It is a green project, with carbon emissions and water and energy consumption all dramatically lower than a conventional mine, and, with C1 operating costs of $0.90/Ib of copper, it will also be in the lowest quartile of the global cost curve.”

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.

Taseko Mines’s Florence ISR trial copper mine reaches commercial level ahead of time

Taseko Mines says it has reached “commercial grade levels” at its Florence in-situ copper test mine in Arizona, USA, less than six months after well field operations commenced.

The company cannot yet say it is a ‘commercial mine’, but it is well on the way to being able to with permits amendment applications to transfer the test facility into a commercial operation being delivered and financing arrangements being made.

On the former, Taseko said the Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) amendment application for Florence was now on its way to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). “The APP is one of two key permit amendments which are required for commercial production at the company’s Florence copper project,” Taseko said, adding that the permit amendment application for the Underground Injection Control Permit will be made to the US Environmental Protection Agency in the coming weeks.

Russell Hallbauer, Chief Executive Officer of Taseko, provided the update on operations at Florence. “This past week, after roughly six months of operating the test facility, the leach solution reached commercial grade levels, well in advance of our anticipated timeframe,” he said.

“Based on previous bench-scale testing, we expected it would take upwards of a year to reach target solution grade, so we are obviously extremely pleased to have achieved this milestone after such a short period of time.”

Hallbauer said the grade of the leach solution coming from Florence’s main recovery well is around 1,600 parts per million (ppm) of copper in solution and would be comparable to a typical open pit, low cost heap leach operation.

“The main difference between Florence Copper and other leach operations is that we have no mining costs associated with our in-situ leach process, making Florence Copper, when in commercial operation, one of the lowest cost operations globally,” he said.

The main focus of the Florence test facility, beyond ensuring the company achieves all the technical targets of its feasibility study, will be building the company’s on-the-ground operational experience to streamline the transition to commercial production, according to Halllbauer.

“Based on the knowledge we have gained in the last six months, the benefits of the two phase approach (production test facility followed by the commercial facility) will significantly improve the ramp up of the final commercial scale operation,” he said.

Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said financing for the commercial production facility is progressing with multiple options continuing to be pursued.

“We have initiated discussions with potential lenders and financing partners and we remain on track to have a plan formalised in the coming months,” he said.

“We now have the three key initiatives – technical, permitting and financing – all aligned for our project to be construction-ready in the first half of 2020.”

The commercial Florence mine is expected to produce copper at average operating costs of $1.10/Ib ($2,425/t), come with a capital cost intensity of $5,200/t of copper capacity and yield a pre-tax net present value of $920 million. It also has a slated copper production capacity of 85 MIb/y (38,555 t/y) and a 21-year mine life.