Taseko Mines Limited (TSX: TKO) (NYSE Amex: TGB) has reported that it has submitted a new Project Description for its Prosperity Gold-Copper Project with the Government of Canada.
The revised plan addresses the concerns identified during the federal review process. The proposal greatly reduces environmental impacts, preserves Fish Lake and its aquatics, and enables all mine operations and related components to be contained within one single watershed, a beneficial feature of the original design.
The Company has been assured by the Government of Canada that it wishes to see resource projects developed and that it is not opposed to the mining of the Prosperity ore body, only the way in which it was originally proposed.
Mr. Russell Hallbauer, President & CEO of Taseko, commented; "In 2005 when we initiated engineering work and economic and environmental studies on our Prosperity Project, the long-term price projections for copper and gold were $1.50/lb and $550/oz, respectively. Using these metal price projections, we put forward the best plan to ensure the Project was economically viable; this plan involved the elimination of Fish Lake. The assumptions used were consistent with the Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference and the Project was advanced with both Provincial and Federal agencies as well as with First Nations groups.
In 2009, however, when we were in the middle of presenting our project to the Federal Agencies, short-term metal prices began to rise and new longer-term price projections emerged which indicated both copper and gold prices would be much higher.
Today, price projections for copper average about $2.50/lb and for gold above $1,000/oz - nearly two times the prices we used in our original assessment. It is for this reason that we are now able to consider and advance this new design proposal which adds construction costs and life of mine operating expenditures of approximately $300 million."
Given that the project re-design retains much of the original plan, Taseko is confident that Government agencies and departments will be able to rely on significant portions of the already completed environmental assessments to inform the new assessment and that we anticipate the scope of that assessment to be focused on only what has changed."
Mr. Hallbauer added, "Our initiative to preserve Fish Lake and accommodate the concerns of the Federal Government and First Nations communities is a major commitment and undertaking by Taseko.
Source: Taseko Mines Limited