Gibraltar Mine wins sustainability award

Taseko Mines' takeover, make-over provides sustainability, economic stability

By Sean Glanville

Taseko-Gibraltar Mine was the recipient of a prestigious award recently.

A full house gathered at the Signal Point Banquet Room on July 15 to celebrate Gibraltar Mine winning a 2013 Mining and Sustainability Award.

It was a joint award presented on behalf of the Province of British Columbia and Mining Association of B.C.

“The three main criteria for this award are economic, social and environmental contributions or impacts of the mine,” explained Brian Battison, Taseko vice-president of corporate affairs.

Gibraltar Mine opened in 1971 but was forced to close due to low copper prices in the late 1990s.

Taseko then acquired Gibraltar and kept the McLeese Lake area property in a care-and-maintenance stage for five years before re-opening in 2004.

Battison described how due to the changes made at Gibraltar, the mine will no longer have to shutdown even if copper prices were to plummet again in the future.

“Since we took over in 2004, Taseko has invested $700 million in Gibraltar Mine. Much of that investment has gone into changing the mine from a very high-cost to a much lower-cost operation.

“What this means is that if there’s ever a period of poor copper prices the mine can stay open and this project will continually provide economic value to the region and things like job security.”

A major part of Gibraltar’s mandate and strategy was to lower the overhead cost of running the mine and improve efficiency, which Battison said he believes they have succeeded in doing.

Sean Glanville is a writer with the Williams Lake Tribune.