Williams Lake Tribune: Taseko-Gibraltar - A Look Back on 2015March 23, 2016
Commodity prices, like many other things, are cyclical in nature. Copper prices have now been trending lower over the past six years and, as a result, mines in British Columbia and around the world have taken steps to reduce costs, cut back on workforce hours and numbers and even closed operations.
At Taseko-Gibraltar, we have taken several steps to carefully manage our spending so that we can weather this prolonged period of low copper prices, keep the mine operating and as many of our workforce as possible employed.
We have been careful in our planning and in our forecasting. Many on the Taseko-Gibraltar management team have been through similar economic and low commodity price cycles and have prepared the company accordingly. This experience provided the confidence necessary to invest over $700 million to modernize, improve efficiencies and lower our cost of production at Taseko-Gibraltar. It is because of that investment that the mine remains open during these very difficult economic times on the metal mining business. As metal prices recover, as they surely will one day, the enterprise is well positioned to take advantage of that recovery and be in an even stronger position to carry on its important work.
When you consider that the Gibraltar Mine, during an average year, spends close to $1 million every day, much of it directly into Cariboo communities it is no wonder a strong and resilient Gibraltar is in everyone’s best interest. Last year, in 2015, Taseko-Gibraltar purchased approximately $92.5 million in supplies and services from the BC Interior/Cariboo region. Ninety-three per cent of Taseko-Gibraltar’s wages are paid to those living in Williams Lake, Quesnel, and 100 Mile House. In 2015, Gibraltar provided $67.9 million in annual wages total; in which, $63 million went directly to Cariboo residents.
Credit for much of Taseko-Gibraltar’s success and its ability to carry on making its contribution to the local economy is owed to the dedicated hard work and expertise of our employees. Our people are performance oriented and focused on maintaining the competitiveness of the operation. But there‘s more to it than just getting the job done. Great attention and care is paid to getting the job done safely. On December 31, 2015, Taseko’s Gibraltar Mine employees reached another great milestone — the second year in a row without a single loss time incident. This record of safety now exceeds three million person hours worked without a loss time injury; an extraordinary feat. In recognition of the accomplishment the Province of British Columbia honoured Gibraltar and its employees with the John Ash award at the 54th Annual Mine Safety Awards held in Victoria on March 7, 2016, which recognizes a mine in British Columbia with at least one million worker hours and the lowest-time accident frequency. This was the second year Gibraltar was recognized with this award, having won it at least year’s Mine Safety Awards.
One last thing to mention, a big thank you to our employees for their community spirit and generosity! In 2015, Taseko-Gibraltar and its employees collectively raised over $28,000.00 for the United Way campaign of which 70 per cent will go directly toward the Williams Lake United Way chapter, to help support local programs and people in need right here in our community. Since the company’s involvement in the campaign eight years ago, Taseko-Gibraltar’s employees have been responsible for the raising of over $660,000 for the United Way.
Written by Dave Rouleau, the Vice President of mining operations with Taseko