Then and now: A commitment to clear the air

Recently, while sorting through an archive of files and documents, a team of Rio Tinto Kennecott employees came upon scrapbooks that include past news articles and panoramic photos of the Salt Lake Valley dating back more than 40 years. The focus of many of the news articles is on air quality, an issue we continue to face in the Salt Lake Valley today. Many of these articles discuss efforts to improve the air we breathe. Reading through these historical articles, it became clear that improving air quality as a community is as much of a commitment today as it was then.

Reducing our impact on air quality remains at the forefront in our operations at Kennecott. We've taken bold, innovative actions to do our part to reduce the impacts of our operation and find solutions, including:

Idle reduction: Our sustainable development team is spearheading the installation of idle monitors on more than 430 Kennecott fleet vehicles, which are used throughout our facilities and operation. These monitors report vehicle engines that have been idling for a designated amount of time. From late 2008 through February 2012, we successfully saved more than two million gallons of fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 21,000 tons. This multi-faceted progrm is being implemented across our operation. For example, the mine is currently aiming to reduce small-vehicle idling to less than five percent of the time by instilling behavioral change with employees.

Clear the Air Challenge: We mean it when we say we want to be part of the solution. As a founding sponsor of and participant in the Clear the Air Challenge, we've been a part of the annual, month-long competition among businesses and area residents to eliminate 300,000 single-occupant trips and save two million miles. We just completed our fifth consecutive year of the Challenge and are pleased with the ongoing employee participation.

Transit options: A strong transit system helps connect communities and reduce the miles driven and emissions released from cars. That's part of why we donated $13 million years ago to help speed the construction of the Utah Transit Authority's TRAX red line, which connects Daybreak to the University of Utah. Additionally, we recently started subsidizing employee UTA transit passes for TRAX, FrontRunner and the bus.

Equipment: Our 320-ton-capacity haul trucks are some of the largest in the world. Thanks to the ongoing upgrade of our trucks to new Tier 2 engines, we're cutting their emissions by half – while still maintaining the same horsepower as the Tier 1 engines.

Take a closer look at our ongoing commitment to improving air quality at