By Joe Hoppe

 

Rio Tinto said Tuesday that it will invest $498 million to deliver underground development infrastructure for an area known as the North Rim Skarn, part of the Kennecott operation near Salt Lake City, Utah.

The world's second-biggest miner by market value said the investment is intended to strengthen its copper supply in the U.S., by increasing underground mining production and improving the health of key assets.

Production from the Skarn will start in 2024 and is expected to ramp up over two years, delivering around 250,000 metric tons of additional mined copper over the next 10 years, alongside open cut operations.

This follows on from a $55 million investment first disclosed in September to start underground mining in an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn. Underground production there started in February, and is expected to deliver around 30,000 tons of additional copper through to 2027.

"We are investing to build a world class underground mine at Kennecott and strengthen our processing facilities, to meet the growing demand for copper in the United States, a key material for domestic manufacturing and the energy transition," Rio Tinto Copper Chief Operating Officer Clayton Walker said.

The investments are included in Rio Tinto's capital investment guidance for 2023 to 2025.

 

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2023 10:31 ET (14:31 GMT)

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