Taseko Mine CEO expects New Prosperity project review panel report this week

VANCOUVER – Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) chief executive Russell Hallbauer says he expects the three-member federal panel which has been reviewing the company’s New Prosperity Project in B.C. to issue its report by the end of this week.

“While we have no insight into the content of the report, we believe our commitment to invest an additional $300 million in environmental responsibility fully addresses the concerns from the 2010 review and that the project should receive the necessary authorizations to proceed,” Hallbauer said in a statement Wednesday.

The panel wrapped up its hearings into the controversial gold and copper project in the Chilcotin region of B.C. in August.

The proposed project has already been rejected once by the federal government, but the company revised its plan and resubmitted it approval.

A key issue was Fish Lake, which was to be drained for use as a tailings pond in the original proposal. That plan was scrapped in the revised proposal, but opponents still raised concerns about the lake.

Taseko has said it can prevent contamination from groundwater seepage from a tailings pond now to be located several kilometres away.

Hallbauer made the comments about the timing of the panel report as Taseko reported a profit of $120,000 for its latest quarter compared with a loss of $3.1 million a year. On a per-share basis, Taseko was breakeven for the quarter compared with a loss of two cents per share a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter totalled $66.8 million, up from $61 million.

In addition to the New Prosperity project, Taseko owns a 75 per cent stake in the Gibraltar Mine in B.C.