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Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko

Lower copper prices saw Vancouver-headquartered Taseko Mines register a net loss of C$9.9 million in the December quarter.
Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko Weak copper prices weigh on Taseko

Taseko Mine's Gibraltar asset is located in south-central British Columbia, the second largest open pit copper mine in Canada

Staff reporter

Net debt rose by C$11 million across 2019 to C$320 million, more than six-times the company's annual adjusted EBTIDA figure of C$51 million.

Production at Gibraltar, Taseko's key asset, amounted to 125.9 million pounds of copper in 2019, in line with guidance and a slight improvement over 2018.

Taseko president Stuart McDonald said he was confident copper prices would begin to edge higher following the coronavirus-related slump.

"Even though the price of copper has been impacted recently by global events, we still believe the supply/demand fundamentals remain intact with the opportunity for a significant positive copper price movement," said McDonald.

"With our production from Gibraltar we continue to have significant cashflow leverage to the copper price upside, and on the downside we have copper put options in place for February, March and April at a strike price of US$2.60 per pound, which protect our cash flow in the event copper drops from current levels."

Analysts from Numis Securities were not convinced by Taseko as an investment: "It's not one for us (and shouldn't be for you)," the bank said in a note.

"Gibraltar continues to hit its operational targets but Taseko is primarily leveraged to the copper price as the company does not generate meaningful free cash flow at current prices."

Canadian bank BMO was more positive, pointing to the company's "steady" production guidance for 2020 (130 million pounds for Gibraltar), and the fact that adjusted EBITDA for the December quarter was above consensus.