Rio Tinto Kennecott launches $2 million pilot project for south slope tailings facility

Pilot project to accelerate stabilization based on new science

South Jordan, Utah (June 3, 2016) – Rio Tinto Kennecott is proactively launching a pilot dewatering project based on newly released science to accelerate stabilization of its south tailings facility. The project is designed to enable the facility to withstand a catastrophic earthquake and eliminate run-out from Kennecott’s property.

Using input from three independent third-party geotechnical experts and Kennecott’s own studies, the company will install wells to pump water out of the tailings facility. The pilot will be completed in six to 12 months. Based on the results, Kennecott will install additional wells in 2017 and 2018. Within two years, these proactive steps can mitigate the risk of tailings slowly depositing onto Highway 201 in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

Kennecott has spent more than $500 million dollars in the past 20 years to continuously improve the stability of the south tailings facility, and a 2010 independent study by Salt Lake County verified these efforts have been effective. The pilot project is designed to build on that work and create even greater stability.

Kennecott constantly evaluates its operations and stays informed about new studies and the latest science.

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About Rio Tinto Kennecott
As one of the largest copper producers in the United States, Rio Tinto Kennecott comprises nearly 7 percent of U.S. copper production. Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the top producing copper mines in the world with production at more than 19 million tons. Rio Tinto purchased Kennecott and related facilities in 1989 and has invested more than $2 billion in modernization since that time. Kennecott has also spent more than $350 million on the cleanup of historic mining waste and $100 million on groundwater cleanup. Take a closer look at

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the United Kingdom, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminum, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and Southern Africa.