Williams Lake Tribune: Gibraltar Mine - Cariboo’s contribution to an essential metalMarch 21, 2023
Ben Pierce, Gibraltar Mine
Industrial Update 2023
Since 2005, Taseko has been operating the Gibraltar Mine, which is our flagship operation located outside Williams Lake. Due to our long history in the community, many residents may have a general understanding of the social and economic contributions that Gibraltar has made to the Cariboo. It provides secure and well-paying jobs, supports charitable organizations, and employs dedicated people who spend their personal time volunteering and contributing to the well-being of our community. Our primary focus has always been on generating social and economic value while running our business.
However, what might not be as visible to our community partners is the physical product we produce at Gibraltar, which is copper. Last year, Gibraltar produced 97 million pounds of copper, equivalent to approximately 1,800 railcars full of copper concentrate, which is shipped to the Port of Vancouver for overseas transport and refining into copper metal.
Copper is an essential metal that plays a crucial role in our daily lives. It is the third-most-consumed industrial metal after iron and aluminum.
Our society would not have access to the items we use every day, such as computers, cell phones, TVs, wiring in cars, trucks, and other vehicles, without operations like Gibraltar.
Copper is also an important component of medical and hospital settings due to its anti-microbial properties on high touch surfaces like door handles, call buttons, and bed rails.
Copper is not only essential for our everyday lives but also fundamental for facilitating the world’s transition to a low-carbon future. It is necessary for all forms of renewable energy, including wind turbines, solar arrays, electric vehicles, as well as energy transmission. As the demand for these products continues to grow, so will the demand for copper. Taseko and Gibraltar will play an increasingly important role in delivering the metals required to facilitate the global transition to a low-carbon future.
On average, electric vehicles require up to six times more copper than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
The average amount of copper required to manufacture a passenger electric vehicle is 183 pounds, versus 30 pounds for an average ICE vehicle. Gibraltar’s 2022 production of 97 million pounds of copper is sufficient to manufacture 530,000 EVs. If all of Taseko’s 2022 copper production was used to manufacture EVs and displace an equivalent number of ICE-powered cars on North American roads, it would have the potential to offset 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year!
Although 100 per cent of Taseko’s annual copper production is not likely to be dedicated to any single purpose, the example above provides a glimpse into one of the many valuable end-uses of our product and the important contribution that Gibraltar’s copper makes in the world today.
The people of the Cariboo can be proud that this essential metal is being produced right here in our community.
As a company, we are proud of our contribution to the economic and social well-being of local communities and the world-wide effort to combat climate change.