2017 Annual General Meeting: Remarks from Taseko’s CEO, Russell HallbauerJune 22, 2017
Meeting Date: June 8, 2017
Good afternoon everyone and thank you for taking the time to attend our AGM today. It’s good to know that some shareholders still are interested in better understanding the companies they invest in.
As you may know, we just completed the refinancing of our long-term debt. What you may not know is that we have spent the last week meeting with prospective fixed income investors in New Jersey, New York, Toronto, Boston and the Los Angeles area, only returning late last night once the deal was successfully priced. So we are a little beat from the long road trip and still have some work to do to complete the bond deal.
We believe the new long term debt facility greatly strengthens our balance sheet and provides the company with the security and flexibility to manage our operations at Gibraltar, as well as continuing to advance our pipeline of projects. We also reduced our total debt by using some of our growing cash position from the last couple of very strong quarters.
This deal was not an easy one to put in place with many macro issues working against us. Completing a deal of this size is the result of a lot of hard work of many of our employees, but I would like to make a special mention of our CFO, Stuart McDonald. His efforts over the past couple of months were key in achieving the deal we managed to get done, in the face of significant headwinds.
For our shareholders and other stakeholders here, I would like to say thank you for the continued support.
Twelve months ago when I stood here speaking with you, I was much less optimistic about the near-term prospects for the copper sector. But in the last 6 months the price of copper has climbed from the US $2.00 per pound level to where it is today, US $2.55 – $2.60 per pound. And more importantly, the Canadian dollar price today is back to where it was in 2012 at about $3.50. While it may not seem like a huge improvement, the extra fifty to sixty cents of copper price makes a very important difference in our profitability. This year we expect to produce approximately 150 million pounds of copper;50 cents of higher pricing equates to roughly 100 million canadian dollars of additional cash flow .
The copper price has now been trading at these higher levels now for more than six months and we are feeling more comfortable with it remaining at this level in the near term. The medium to long-term general consensus is that copper prices will increase as demand far out strips a very constrained copper supply.
There’s no doubt the past 5 to 6 years have been very challenging for Taseko and other base metals producers, but we remain very optimistic about our company’s prospects as market conditions improve and as we continue to advance our development assets.
So with that, I’m going to wrap up my comments. Again, we very much appreciate your attendance here this afternoon. While this meeting is shorter than previous, myself and members of our senior management team are here and available to chat with you and answer any questions you may have.