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Rio Tinto invests in US copper mine

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

Rio Tinto has approved a US$1.5 billion investment to continue production at its Kennecott copper operation (USA). The investment over the next 6 years will extend operations at Kennecott to 2032.

The investment will further extend strip waste rock mining and support additional infrastructure development in the second phase of the South Wall Pushback project. This could allow mining to continue into a new area of the ore body and deliver close to 1000 000 t of refined copper from 2026- 2032. The project could also allow further exploration of the deposit and options for mine life extension.

This additional investment will commence in 2020 and is included in the company’s group capital expenditure guidance of US$7 billion in 2020 and US$6.5 billion in both 2021 and 2022 as development capital. With this project, the company has invested more than US$5 billion in modernisation, environmental stewardship and mine life extension initiatives since it acquired Kennecott in 1989.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive J. S. Jacques said: “This is an attractive, high value and low risk investment that will ensure Kennecott produces copper and other critical materials to at least 2032. The outlook for copper is attractive, with strong growth in demand driven by its use in electric vehicles and renewable power technologies”.

In 2019, the company announced that it would cut the carbon footprint associated with operations at Kennecott by permanently closing its coal-fired power plant and sourcing renewable energy certificates.

Jacques added “Kennecott will be supplying customers across North America with products that are not only produced in the region but responsibly mined with a significantly reduced carbon footprint”.

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Rio Tinto news US mining news Copper mining news