Mill operations unaffected, no reduction to personnel as a result of changes, company says
Taseko Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake is still up and running as changes are being made to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said they have adjusted the mine plan.
“Changes will see a temporary curtailment in mining operations and an idling of some mining equipment effective April 1 in the pit,” Battison told the Tribune.
“The mill operations will be unaffected and there will be no reduction to personnel as a result of these changes.”
The mine is currently operating at capacity and there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on site or in the workforce, he added.
Continued operation of the mine will be contingent on an available work force and copper prices, he added.
“We have a couple of priorities during this difficult time and they are protecting our employees and their families, and suppliers against the virus and managing the mine under these difficult world-wide conditions.”
Copper prices have dropped ‘dramatically’ in the last 10 days by 20 per cent, he said.
He confirmed there have been no layoffs within the 700-person workforce.
Safety precautions recommended by the Chief Inspector of Mines and Provincial Health Officer are in place with respect to COVID-19 and were implemented before the recommendations became official, he confirmed.
All large non-essential gatherings have been cancelled and site access has been restricted until further notice.
If an employee doesn’t want to work during the pandemic, Battison said there are provisions in the collective agreement.
Bus transportation and ridership to and from the mine has been reduced as well and the bus is rigorously cleaned before and after every trip, although employees are being encouraged to drive their private vehicles.
“We’ve taken a whole bunch of steps to keep employers and suppliers safe and keep the mine operating.”
Battison said delivery of concentrate from the mine has not been interrupted that sees it trucked to the rail head, transported by rail to Vancouver and then shipped overseas to smelters.