Mining Intelligence and News

Aley Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Niobium
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Taseko Mines has determined that, in light of the Company’s current focus on Florence Copper and the Yellowhead Copper Project, and the Company’s assessment of the relative value currently attributed to each of the Company’s projects, Taseko Mines does not consider the Aley Project to be material at this time. The Company’s assessment of materiality could change and the Aley Project may again become material in the future. The New Prosperity Project and Aley Project both represent longer-term growth options for Taseko Mines Ltd.

Environmental monitoring and product marketing initiatives on the Aley niobium project continue. The converter pilot test is ongoing and is providing additional process data to support the design of the commercial process facilities and will provide final product samples for marketing purposes.


Taseko Mines Ltd. 100 % Indirect
The Aley Property is 100% owned by Aley Corporation which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taseko Mines.

Deposit type

  • Magmatic


In the Aley deposit, niobium occurs in pyrochlore that formed as early-stage mineral precipitates in primary magma. Alteration of the dolomite carbonatite by unknown factors created the Nb bearing alteration minerals fersmite and columbite. The changes are believed to have occurred largely in situ, and as such there has been less scope for transport or concentration of Nb by secondary processes. The type of deposit is considered to be that of magmatic segregation.

The Aley Carbonatite complex intrudes Cambrian to Ordovician sedimentary rocks of the Kechika (limestone), Skoki (dolomite to volcaniclastics) and Road River Group formations (clastic sedimentary rocks). The intrusion is ovoid in plan view with a diameter of approximately 2 km and surrounded by a fenite aureole up to 500 m thick that has previously been mapped as “amphibolite” (Pride, Cominco Ltd., 1987) and “syenite” (Mäder, 1986). The intrusive contacts are parallel to bedding and lie at a uniform stratigraphic level near the base of the Kechika Formation. Three principal units within the carbonatite have been identified:

1) a volumetrically dominant fersmite- and pyrite-bearing dolomite-apatite carbonatite unit that forms the core of the sill;
2) a magnetite, pyrochlore, phlogopitebearing calcite-apatite carbonatite unit that forms the margins of the sill where it is in contact with the Kechika Formation; and
3) a banded magnetite-apatite unit in the dolomite core.

The niobium (Nb) minerals at Aley consist of pyrochlore, fersmite, and columbite. The alteration follows a general sequence whereby pyrochlore, and to a lesser degree, columbite, alter to fersmite. The chemistry of the alteration minerals appears to be inherited from the parent mineral. At Aley, no significant amount of tantalum (Ta) has been noted in the pyrochlore and the alteration minerals also do not contain it. Likewise, the reduction of solid solution capacity in the minerals reduces in the alteration sequence. The iron (Fe) content appears to increase in atomic proportion towards columbite.

The two largest exploration targets are the Central and Saddle zones. The Central Zone occupies the core of the carbonatite complex and has a strike varying from 070° to 120° (predominantly 120) and dips 60° to 70° to the south. It is roughly ovoid in shape and extends some 1400 m E-W, up to 725 m N-S, and over a vertical range of 650 m. Mineralization is associated with bands and swirls of magnetite. The Saddle zone occupies the northern part of the carbonatite complex in proximity to the contact with the amhibolite annulus and has a strike of 070° to 090° dipping at 60° to 70° to the north. Mineralization is associated with alternating bands of pyritic calcite (varying in width from 5cm to 5m) with dolomitic or calcitic carbonatite.



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CommodityProductUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
Niobium Metal in alloy t 9,000187,600
Niobium Ferro-niobium t 14,000297,500

Operational metrics

Daily ore mining rate 10,000 t *
Daily milling capacity 10 kt *
Annual milling capacity 3,650 kt *
Stripping / waste ratio 0.5 *
Waste tonnes, LOM 44,329 kt *
Total tonnes mined, LOM 128,145 kt *
Tonnes milled, LOM 83,815 kt *
* According to 2017 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Niobium USD 24 / kg *  
Assumed price Niobium USD 45 / kg *  
* According to 2017 study / presentation.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t mined) CAD 3.33 *  
OP mining costs ($/t milled) CAD  ....  Subscribe
Processing costs ($/t milled) CAD  ....  Subscribe
G&A ($/t milled) CAD  ....  Subscribe
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* According to 2017 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
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Mine Management

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