Aley - Project Summary

The Aley deposit was discovered in 1980 by Cominco. From 1983-1986, approximately 10,000 feet of diamond drilling was completed in 20 holes, outlining near surface mineralization in the range of 20-30 million tonnes.

In 2007, Taseko acquired the project. Following the acquisition, Taseko initiated an exploration program to confirm Cominco’s historical work.

In 2010, an additional exploration program was completed. The program comprised geological mapping and diamond drilling of 23 drill holes (2010-12 through 2010-34), for a total of 4,460 metres. Assay results for 21 of these drill holes have been received. These holes intersected excellent grade niobium mineralization across an area measuring over 900 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south. Mineralized drill intercepts range up to over 200 metres in length. Niobium mineralization intersected is highly continuous and close to surface. The extensive body of niobium mineralization indicated by the 2010 drilling is wide open to expansion in at least three directions and to depth.

Highlight intersections stet the 2010 drill program are as follows:

DRILL HOLE
NUMBER

FROM
(METRES)

TO
(METRES)

INTERCEPT2
(METRES)

INTERCEPT2
(FEET)

NB2O5
(%)

FERRO
NIOBIUM1
(KG/TONNE)

2010-012

9.1

134.4

125.3

411

0.53

3.41

2010-014

14.6

91.5

76.9

252

0.67

4.28

2010-021

6.3

140.4

134.1

440

0.70

4.48

2010-022

6.7

150.8

144.1

473

0.57

3.64

2010-023

4.6

146.3

141.7

465

0.82

5.23

2010-030

45.1

198.3

153.2

503

0.52

3.31

2010-033

6.1

213.4

207.3

680

0.66

4.20

Note 1: Ferro niobium (FeNb) content is calculated assuming 60% recovery and 5% conversion loss (Nb2O5 x 6.38).

Note 2: True thicknesses of reported intervals have yet to be established.

Taseko undertook a comprehensive work program on the project in 2011, which included an extensive core drilling program and also preliminary geo-technical data for site design and metallurgical testwork.

The information gathered during the 2011 work program season, along with historical drill data, was used to convert the inferred resources into a measured and indicated resource in March, 2012.

Project Economics

In September 2014, Taseko announced proven and probable reserves of 84 million tonnes grading 0.50% Nb2O5 for the Aley Niobium Project. Highlights include:

  • Pre-tax net present value of approximately C$860 million at an 8% discount rate
  • Pre-tax internal rate of return of 17% with a 5.5 year payback
  • Anticipated operating margin of US$21/kg of niobium (Nb)
  • Average annual production of 9 million kilograms Nb in the form of FeNb
  • 24 year mine life at a milling rate of 10,000 tonnes per day
  • Life of mine strip ratio of 0.5:1
  • Total pre-production capital cost of C$870 million, including; $520 million for mine, concentrator and site infrastructure; $180 million for the converter, $100 million for offsite infrastructure including the transmission line, and $70 million for pre-stripping

Project Description

Pre-Production and Mine Plan

A pre-production period of two years would include construction of the electricity transmission line, upgrading and extension of current road access and mine site clearing, site infrastructure, processing facilities, and tailings starter dam construction.

The mine plan utilizes a conventional truck shovel open pit mining operation. Following the pre-production period, total material moved averages 15,000 tonnes/day.

Processing and Infrastructure

The Aley processing plant has been designed with a nominal capacity of 10,000 tonnes per day. The plant consists of single stage crushing followed by three stage grinding and a multi-stage flotation process to produce a Nb2O5 concentrate. The flotation concentrate is then processed in an on-site converter to produce FeNb as a saleable product.

Expected process recovery is 63% with annual production averaging 9 million kilograms of niobium over the mine life.

Next Steps

The project description will be submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment office. Once accepted, the project will enter into the environmental assessment process.

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