Taseko Mines announced Thursday that it had achieved a 30% increase in copper production and a 50% increase in molybdenum production last year.

Russell Hallbauer, Taseko CEO, said, “Strong financial performance in 2010 was driven by improved copper production and the rising copper price environment. …These improvements are the result of ongoing investments in mine and concentrate equipment.”

The company reported it produced 92.3 million pounds of copper last year, up from 70.3 million pounds in 2009.  Taesko also mined 941,000 pounds of molybdenum production in 2010, up from 629,000 pounds in 2009.

“As announced in February, we are moving forward with a further capacity increase at Gibraltar. This $325 million investment will allow us to leverage the strong copper price environment and further enhance Taseko’s cash flow generating ability,” he added.

Gibraltar’s daily mill capacity has been recently increased to 55,000 tpd, resulting in an annual production capacity of 115 million pounds of copper and 1.4 million pounds of molybdenum. This spring construction will commence for Gibraltar Development Plan 3, which includes a 30,000 tpd concentrator. The additional capacity will increase the mine’s annual copper production by 60 million pounds to 180 million pounds, at average life of mine grade.

The project will also include a new moly recovery facility, which will increase moly metal production by over one million pounds annually, according to Taseko.

Meanwhile, Hallbauer also noted Taseko has submitted a revised description for the Prosperity copper-gold project near Williams B.C. Last November the Federal Minister of the Environment said it would not grant federal authorizations to proceed on the project. Therefore, Taseko revised the proposal to greatly reduce environmental impacts, preserve Fish Lake and its aquatics, and enables all mine and related operations to be contained in a single watershed.

Prosperity has proven and probable reserves of 7.7 million gold ounces and 3.6 billion pounds of copper.

FINANCIALS

Taseko reported net earnings of $148.6 million or 80-cents per share last year, up from net earnings of $10.6 million or 6-cents per share reported for the full year of 2009.

For the fourth-quarter 2010, Taseko reported net earnings of $25.3 million or 14-cents per share.

A conference call with analysts to discuss Taseko’s financial results is scheduled at 11 a.m. eastern time Friday.