(Alliance News) - Taseko Mines Ltd on Thursday said its Florence Copper project in Arizona is progressing smoothly as it reported growth in adjusted profit despite a lower realised copper sales price.

The company operates Gibraltar mine in British Columbia; it is the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada.

Taseko said net income edged down 44% to CAD18.9 million in the first quarter of 2024, from CAD33.8 million a year prior.

Notably, adjusted net profit grew 52% to CAD7.7 million from CAD5.1 million. The adjusted measure includes CAD52.8 million in earnings from mining operations before depletion and amortisation, up 28% from CAD41.1 million a year prior.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 38% to CAD49.9 million from CAD36.1 million.

The company's realised copper sales price declined 3.7% to USD3.89 from USD4.02 a year prior.

Revenue climbed 27% to CAD146.9 million from CAD115.5 million.

The firm produced 29.7 million pounds of copper at the Gibraltar mine, up 19% from 24.9 million pounds a year prior.

Taseko mined 22.8 million tonnes at the Gibraltar mine in the first quarter of 2024, down 5.4% from 24.1 million tonnes a year prior.

Looking ahead, the company said: "The Gibraltar pit will continue to be the main source of mill feed for the first half of 2024 before mining of ore transitions into the Connector pit in the second half of the year. Stripping activity will continue to be focused in the Connector pit, and further oxide ore from this pit is expected to be added to the heap leach pads this year."

Chief Executive Officer Stuart McDonald said: "At Florence Copper, initial construction and wellfield development activities are progressing smoothly. There are now three drill rigs operating on the commercial facility wellfield, with a fourth drill to be mobilized in May. A total of ten new production wells have been drilled to date. Site preparation and earthworks for the SX/EW plant area are also underway and construction of the plant is expected to begin later this quarter. It is an exciting time for the company as we move closer to commercial operations at Florence."

The Florence Copper project is expected to enter commercial copper production in the fourth quarter of 2025. Taseko anticipates it to be "one of the most efficient copper producers in the world," it states on its website.

Taseko shares were 3.1% higher at 207.30 pence each on Thursday afternoon in London.

By Tom Budszus, Alliance News slot editor

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