Rio declares force majeure at Kennecott after quake

Bingham Canyon mine. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The world’s number two miner, Rio Tinto, (ASX:RIO) said it has invoked force majeure on contracts at its Kennecott copper operation near Salt Lake City, Utah following an earthquake last month.

Kennecott copper mine and smelter was shut down following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake close to the town of Magna on March 18. There were no injuries and Rio at the time said it identified limited damage to the operation or risk to the surrounding community.

Rio said in a statement to Reuters, “we are working to restart Kennecott’s smelter after the emergency shutdown in response to the earthquake.”

In December, Rio Tinto announced it is spending $1.5 billion to expand Kennecott and extend the life of the more-than 100-year-old open-pit mine through to 2032.

Kennecott produced 186,800 tonnes of copper last year from the iconic Bingham Canyon mine.

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