Rio Tinto Kennecott completes planned smelter shutdown and begins third-party concentrate processing

Rio Tinto Kennecott recently completed the redesign and installation of Kennecott’s railcar unloading system at the company’s smelter. This improvement has allowed Kennecott to reduce cycle times required to receive and unload third-party concentrate by three times.

General manager, marketing, Rio Tinto Eva Model said “the redesign of the railcar unloading system is a significant upgrade for our operation because it positions us to meet our customer’s needs through improved flexibility and blending capabilities. We have already demonstrated our ability to process third-party concentrate and we look forward to establishing more relationships to continue this service.”

This work was part of the safest and largest planned maintenance shutdown at Kennecott’s smelter in the company’s history. Two years of planning took place leading to the completion of 150 projects by 2,000 employees and contractors, 50 construction contractors and 136 equipment suppliers.

General manager, integration and operational excellence, Rio Tinto Kennecott Colin Nexhip said “I’m proud of what we accomplished during this planned maintenance shutdown because it demonstrated what strong planning, project management and great people can achieve. With the many rebuilds, replacements and improvements made to the smelter, it will be a safer and more efficient plant.”

Kennecott will continue to clean up material from the historic 2013 landslide that sent 150 million tons of dirt and rock into the bottom of the Bingham Canyon Mine. The cleanup work and the additional waste material removal required to ensure ongoing stability of the east wall temporarily limits access to ore, but it creates an opportunity for Kennecott to utilize some of the excess capacity to process third-party concentrate.