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Taseko Reports First Quarter 2015 Results

Press Releases

May 13, 2015, Vancouver, BC – Taseko Mines Limited (TSX: TKO; NYSE MKT: TGB) (“Taseko” or the “Company”) reports the results for the three months ended March 31, 2015.

First Quarter Highlights

  • First quarter 2015 earnings from mining operations (before depletion and amortization)* were $2.3 million and adjusted EBITDA* was $11.2 million compared to a loss of ($0.9) million and ($8.4) million, respectively, in the fourth quarter 2014,
  • Gibraltar throughput averaged 86,100 tons per day in the first quarter, above design capacity and the best performing quarter since the concentrator was upgraded.
  • Total production in the first quarter was 28.4 million pounds of copper and 404 thousand pounds of molybdenum, relatively flat compared to production of 28.1 million pounds and 445 thousand pounds in the fourth quarter 2014.
  • Total sales for the quarter were 25.4 million pounds of contained copper in concentrate. Inventory increased by 3.0 million pounds due to shipment timing.
  • In January 2015, the Company took advantage of the weak copper price and settled all outstanding copper put options for cash proceeds of $17.4 million, resulting in a gain on derivatives of $11.8 million.
  • In April 2015, the Company acquired copper put options for 30 million pounds over the second and third quarters of 2015 at a strike price of US$2.50 per pound. Total cost of these put options was US$1.1 million.
  • In May 2015, an updated mine plan and reserve for Gibraltar was announced. The new plan reduces the overall strip ratio and increases profitability of the mine.

Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko, commented, “Copper grade in the first quarter was similar to the fourth quarter, as expected, but trended higher in March to 0.240% and then to 0.260% in April. During the quarter we successfully operated our concentrators above design capacity in order to maximize production, given the lower copper grade. Mining operations have now worked through the lower grade material in the upper benches and are now progressing into higher grade ore, with the grade expected to fluctuate between 0.25%-0.28% for the balance of 2015. Copper recoveries during the first quarter were better than expected considering the lower copper grade. The increasing copper grade combined with work that has been completed on the grinding and flotation circuits in recent months is expected to result in improved recoveries going forward.

The table below details monthly production statistics for the first quarter, as well as a second quarter forecast:

Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Q1 Total Q2 Forecast
Tons Milled (000s tons) 2,480 2,600 2,680 7,760 7,700
Tons Per Day 79,800 92,700 86,500 86,100 84,600
Strip Ratio 2.4 2.1 2.5 2.4 2.2
Grade 0.23% 0.21% 0.24% 0.23% 0.27%
Recovery 81.1% 80.2% 83.0% 81.4% 84.0%
Cu Production (000s lbs) 9,100 8,600 10,700 28,400 35,500
Cost Per Tonne Milled (C$) $10.09 $8.96 $10.00 $9.66 $10.80
Site Operating Costs Net of
By-Product Credits (US$/lb)
$2.06 $2.13 $1.77 $2.00 $1.75

Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.

“Last week we announced an updated mine plan and long-term reserves for Gibraltar. The six-month engineering study optimized cut-off grade, strip ratio and pit development sequencing. The new mine plan significantly reduces the strip ratio and in combination with the new pit development sequence, will result in lower costs and more profitable copper production,” continued Mr. Hallbauer. “This is only achievable because of the investments we have made at Gibraltar. In recent months, we have been mining to a short-term plan which is similar to the updated long-term plan. In the space of just a few months, we have made significant reductions in cost per ton milled, and as the grade has been improving, costs per pound are also falling. Costs will continue to decline as grade stabilizes at higher levels, recoveries improve and as we advance other cost saving initiatives.”

Mr. Hallbauer added, “Our Florence and Aley projects continue to progress through the permitting and environmental assessment phases. We are managing spending on these projects to correspond with our cash flow and liquidity. Until copper market conditions improve, we will maintain a very conservative spending policy.”

Mr. Hallbauer concluded, “I would also like to congratulate three members of my management team who have recently received important industry awards. In January, Rob Rotzinger, Vice President, Capital Projects, was awarded the Mineral Processor of the Year by the Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP) Group. This award was presented to Rob in recognition of the outstanding work he performed on the GDP3 project, for his dedication to the successful advancement of the Gibraltar Mine, and for his commitment to advancing mineral processing solutions at Gibraltar and Taseko as a whole. In May, John McManus, Chief Operating Officer, was named Mining Person of the Year by the Mining Association of BC. This award publicly recognizes an outstanding individual who has shown leadership in advancing and promoting the mining industry in British Columbia. John was recognized for his work on leading the Mining Association of British Columbia both as Chairman and as a Director during a period when significant changes were occurring with respect to how our industry is perceived by the public, government, media, and First Nations.”

“Also in May, Tom Broddy, Manager, Engineering Projects received two awards from the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). He was presented the District Distinguished Service Award for exemplary effort in introducing students to the mining industry and to the CIM, as well as the Distinguished Service Medal for his commendable mentoring, his commitment to the Surface Mining Society and his dedication to the CIM Vancouver Branch.”

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