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Rio Tinto targets six low-cost assets

Dec 03, 2013 | 02:04 PM |

Tags  Rio Tinto, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, Kennecott Utah Copper, Oyo Tolgoi, Escondida, Grasberg, copper costs, copper Shivani Singh

SINGAPORE — Rio Tinto Plc will focus on six projects as it looks to boost its position on the copper cost curve.

The London-based miner’s copper portfolio has seen divestments totaling $1.8 billion. The company is focusing on four long-life and low-cost operating assets: Kennecott, Oyu Tolgoi, Escondida and Grasberg, Rio Tinto said in prepared slides for an investor conference Dec. 3.

Rio Tinto also plans to take a phased approach to developing two greenfield projects: La Granja in Peru and Resolution in Arizona, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive officer of the company’s copper division, said.

The copper division saw a 13-percent increase in production and a 25-percent decrease in personnel in 2013 compared with 2012.

Kennecott’s recovery following a wall slide earlier in the year is ahead of schedule, and the miner is focusing on improving its long-term cost position at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine, Rio Tinto said.

Oyu Tolgoi is operating at nameplate capacity and the underground development has been paused as talks with the Mongolian government continue, Rio Tinto said.

Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 28,000 to 33,000 tonnes of copper concentrates in the fourth quarter on a 100-percent basis.

A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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