Rio Tinto Kennecott announces potential $200 million upgrades to concentrator

Rio Tinto Kennecott is considering $200 million in planned improvements to the concentrator over the next several years, a symbol of a continued, longstanding commitment to invest in the business and to be an economic contributor to the area.

The five potential projects must be approved by the Rio Tinto Investment Committee and will help the mine improve recovery rates of copper and other minerals essential to human progress.

One project has been approved and will start a six-to-eight week trial in late August. The pyrite deportment project will determine if the use of sodium cyanide will suppress pyrite, or fool’s gold. Lab results show the pyrite project could reduce the amount of lime use at the concentrator by 40 percent and produce higher quality copper concentrate. If the trial is successful, Kennecott will apply for an air quality permit modification and move forward with engineered plans to implement the changes into the mining process.

Kennecott has more than 70 years’ experience using sodium cyanide safely in the mining process and will continue the same safety measures as with other materials that are transported and processed. For more information, see our community presentation.