July 26, 2023
Copper demand is expected to jump rapidly, an expected 26 percent by 2035, as it’s used extensively in new technologies and energy innovations through motors, batteries and wiring. That means we must invest in an increased supply of copper to match demand, and copper is a readily available domestic natural resource.
Rio Tinto announced plans to increase investment in its Kennecott operation near Salt Lake City, funding underground development and infrastructure with $498 million. The Kennecott mine is a world-class copper mining operation that also produces gold, silver, molybdenum and tellurium. It has one of the lowest carbon footprints of copper mines in the U.S., helped by trials of underground battery electric vehicles onsite. A $300 million rebuild is also underway at the Kennecott smelter, one of only two operating copper smelters in the US, and a further $120 million is being invested to upgrade the Kennecott refinery and update its molybdenum flotation circuit. Investments in this operation will support the economy and a sustainable supply of copper and other critical minerals for our future.