Taseko Announces Third Quarter Fiscal 2008 Results
August 12, 2008
August 12, 2008, Vancouver, BC - Taseko Mines Limited (TSX: TKO; AMEX: TGB) (“Taseko” or the “Company”) reports its results for the three months ended June 30, 2008. This release should be read with the Company’s Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis, available at www.tasekomines.com and filed on www.sedar.com. Currency values are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.
The Company reported an operating profit of $16.0 million and net earnings of $3.8 million or $0.03 per share. Sales for the quarter were 13.0 million pounds of copper at an average realized price of US$3.86 and 78,000 pounds of molybdenum at an average price of US$33.57 per pound.
Gibraltar concentrator operating time was impacted by an unplanned 16 day concentrator shutdown caused by the failure of the main transformer feeding power to the semi autogenous grinding (SAG) mill. Quarterly operating profit was impacted by reduced metal production resulting from the transformer failure; one time expenditures related to accelerated work undertaken both in the Granite Pit and the concentrator during the concentrator downtime; as well as increases in consumables prices such as fuel, steel, and reagents.
Cash flow was affected by a working capital adjustment of $9.9 million in increased product inventory costs and $10.2 million in prepayment for Gibraltar and Prosperity long lead time equipment delivery payments.
A summary of the key results in the third quarter compared to the same quarter in fiscal 2007 are:
June 30, 2008
Quarter Ended June 30, 2007
$ 2.3 million
Cash Flow per Share (basic)
Earnings before income tax
Earnings (after tax)
Earnings per share (basic)
1 Copper revenue in 2008 includes proceeds from sales of copper concentrate and copper cathode.
2 Cash flow and cash flow per share are numbers used by the Company to assess its performance. They are not terms recognized under generally accepted accounting principles. Cash flow is defined as cash flow from operations including net change in working capital balances and cash flow per share is the same measure divided by the number of common shares outstanding during the period.
3 Operating profit is comprised of revenues less cost of sales and depletion, depreciation and amortization.
Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko commented, “This past quarter we had many operational and corporate successes which unfortunately were offset by the failure of the main Gibraltar transformer. Although the ramp up of Gibraltar’s Phase I expansion has proven to be more challenging than originally anticipated, our operations team is continuing to make good progress towards achieving the interim design capacity of 46,000 tons per day.”
Mr. Hallbauer continued, “Our focus has not changed, the Gibraltar expansion projects are on time and on budget and we are increasing production as quickly as possible to capitalize on the continued copper market strength. The Prosperity team is moving ahead with engineering and procurement, given the Provincial Government’s recent decision to move Prosperity into the environmental assessment review. Taseko is in an ideal position with near-, medium- and long-term production growth from its 100% wholly-owned assets.”
Third Quarter Highlights
The Company entered into purchase agreements for mining and milling equipment for ongoing expansions at Gibraltar and for long lead time major milling equipment for the Prosperity project.
Taseko entered into a long-term agreement with MRI Trading AG, securing low cost rates for processing six years of Gibraltar mine production. Included within the framework of this agreement is a $30 million line of credit.
Taseko personnel introduced the Prosperity Project to twelve independent copper smelting companies in order to begin the process of negotiating off-take agreements for the Prosperity concentrate.
Taseko acquired Oakmont Ventures Ltd. which held a 30% Net Profits Interest on Gibraltar Mine property adjacent to the Gibraltar East Pit.
An initiative to address future manpower requirements for both the Gibraltar Mine and the Prosperity Project was introduced into the local communities. The program, titled Mining Your Future, is designed to identify people who desire a career in the mining industry and assist them in gaining the skills and education needed to meet both their ambitions and the needs of the Company.
75,000 feet of definition drilling was completed in and around the Gibraltar East Pit area. Geological modeling and engineering of the incoming data is ongoing and an increase of the Gibraltar mineral reserves is expected when new estimates are completed in September of this year.
All construction of the Phase II expansion, required to increase mill production capacity to 55,000 tons per day, is scheduled to be completed on budget by February 2009.
Phase III mill expansion engineering has confirmed earlier capital cost and scheduling estimates. Gibraltar’s Phase III 28-foot diameter SAG mill was ordered during the quarter with a 24-month delivery schedule versus the 42-month standard delivery times in the world for greater than 30-foot diameter SAG mills.
The construction schedule for the new molybdenum plant portion of the Phase III mill expansion was accelerated, completion is now scheduled for mid-2009.
Lead times for mining equipment deliveries were accelerated by 12 months over current industry averages for haulage trucks and by 15 months for shovels, ensuring mine operations can keep pace with ongoing mill expansion work.
Definitive timelines have been established by the Ministry of Environment of British Columbia to progress the Prosperity Project under provisions of the Provincial Environmental Assessment. The first intergovernmental working group review meetings are scheduled for September.
Final engineered layout and flowsheets for the concentrator were completed during the quarter. This has allowed detailed engineering in specific areas where procurement of long delivery equipment is required to minimize the project timeline. Accordingly, payments securing the heads and trunnions for the Prosperity 38-foot SAG mill construction have been placed and discussions with manufacturers of other long lead time items are continuing.
Gibraltar Quarterly Operating Costs
Cost per pound of copper in the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was US$2.79 per pound (total cash cost US$3.25 per pound), and is higher than the US$1.14 per pound (total cash cost US$1.46 per pound) in the same quarter in 2007. The increase in the current quarter was the result of lower copper production due to a transformer failure, increased waste stripping, increases in the prices of site consumables, strength of Canadian currency, and other areas. The approximate effect of major variances on the quarterly cost (in US$) per pound of copper produced is as follows:
Canadian to US dollar exchange rate - $0.23/lb
Production loss due to transformer failure - $0.52/lb
Accelerated maintenance on the grinding circuit during shutdown - $0.13/lb
Continued waste stripping during the transformer down - $0.25/lb
Increased price of fuel, steel , explosives, and reagents - $0.26/lb
Below target copper recovery - $0.24/lb
As the ramp up of the Phase I and future Phases II and III expansions progress, cash costs should decline accordingly. Taseko forecasts long-term, normalized cash costs for the Gibraltar operation in the range of US$1.30 per pound, including both site and off property costs.
For further details on Taseko and its properties, please visit the Company’s website at www.tasekomines.com or contact Investor Services at (604) 684-6365 or within North America at 1-800-667-2114.
President and CEO
No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved of the information contained in this news release.
CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This document contains “forward-looking statements” that were based on Taseko’s expectations, estimates and projections as of the dates as of which those statements were made. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “outlook”, “anticipate”, “project”, “target”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “should” and similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These included but are not limited to:
uncertainties and costs related to the Company’s exploration and development activities, such as those associated with continuity of mineralization or determining whether mineral resources or reserves exist on a property;
uncertainties related to the accuracy of our estimates of mineral reserves, mineral resources, production rates and timing of production, future production and future cash and total costs of production and milling;
uncertainties related to feasibility studies that provide estimates of expected or anticipated costs, expenditures and economic returns from a mining project;
uncertainties related to our ability to complete the mill upgrade on time estimated and at the scheduled cost;
uncertainties related to the ability to obtain necessary licenses permits for development projects and project delays due to third party opposition;
uncertainties related to unexpected or ongoing judicial or regulatory proceedings;
changes in, and the effects of, the laws, regulations and government policies affecting our exploration and development activities and mining operations, particularly laws, regulations and policies;
changes in general economic conditions, the financial markets and in the demand and market price for copper, gold and other minerals and commodities, such as diesel fuel, steel, concrete, electricity and other forms of energy, mining equipment, and fluctuations in exchange rates, particularly with respect to the value of the U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar, and the continued availability of capital and financing;
the effects of forward selling instruments to protect against fluctuations in copper prices and exchange rate movements and the risks of counterparty defaults, and mark to market risk;
the risk of inadequate insurance or inability to obtain insurance to cover mining risks;
the risk of loss of key employees; the risk of changes in accounting policies and methods we use to report our financial condition, including uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and estimates;
environmental issues and liabilities associated with mining including processing and stock piling ore; and
labour strikes, work stoppages, or other interruptions to, or difficulties in, the employment of labour in markets in which we operate mines, or environmental hazards, industrial accidents or other events or occurrences, including third party interference that interrupt the production of minerals in our mines.
For further information on Taseko, investors should review the Company’s annual Form 40-F filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission www.sec.gov and home jurisdiction filings that are available at www.sedar.com.