May is officially Mining Month in the Province of British Columbia.
It is a chance to reflect on what mining has meant to our great province, to celebrate the industry’s past and to consider the great untapped potential it still holds for future generations.
For the Cariboo, in particular, mining has a special place in the region’s history. It was the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1850s that first brought prospectors and miners to the area.
Many stayed, began ranching and logging, and helped build the Cariboo into what it is today. Others left to continue their lives and careers elsewhere in B.C. and across the country.
Mining returned to the Cariboo in a big way in 2004, when Taseko restarted the Gibraltar copper mine. And now, after 18 years of continuous operations, the Cariboo has once again become a mining hub – home to the second largest copper mine in Canada and nearly 700 Gibraltar employees and their families.
This Mining Month, while we celebrate the long history of mining in B.C., I also think it’s important to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of our employees, whose hard work has been critical to Gibraltar’s continued success.
In 2021, while operating Gibraltar on a 24-hour, 365-day basis, producing tens of millions of pounds of copper in concentrate each quarter and doing it safely and profitably in the midst of a global pandemic, our crew also endured severe weather conditions. This included everything from record-high temperatures in summer to extreme cold in winter to dealing with major floods that disrupted copper concentrate and other material shipments.
Regardless of these and other significant challenges, Gibraltar operations flourished. Our people achieved the best safety record in B.C. and produced more than 112 million pounds of copper and two million pounds of molybdenum.
In addition to operational challenges, mining companies these days are increasingly being assessed by communities, governments and investors with respect to their commitment and performance on key environment, social and governance (or ESG) matters.
At Gibraltar, I’m proud to say Taseko continues to demonstrate exemplary on-the-ground ESG performance. By doing so, our stakeholders can be assured we are operating in a safe, environmentally sound and socially responsible manner that benefits our employees and local communities. (For readers with an interest in learning more about Taseko’s ESG performance, our annual ESG Report is available online at bit.ly/TasekoESG).
With more than 23 years of mine life remaining at Gibraltar, and the potential to unlock even greater resources in future, Taseko expects to support hundreds of well-paid jobs, substantial contractor and government revenues, and partnerships with First Nations, community and charitable groups, for generations to come.
In addition, Taseko is proud to be one of Canada’s leading producers of copper – a fundamental and irreplaceable metal to address climate change and facilitate the global transition to a low-carbon future. By producing copper, while achieving exemplary ESG performance, Gibraltar and the Cariboo region are together making an important contribution to solving the number one environmental issue of our time.
Sean Magee is Taseko Mines vice-president corporate affairs. This article was submitted by Taseko Mines.
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