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Kennecott lays off 100 following wall slide

Keywords: Tags  Kennecott Copper Utah, Bingham Canyon, Rio Tinto, copper, copper cathode, employees, wall slide, Barbara O'Donovan

NEW YORK — Kennecott Utah Copper said it has laid off about 100 workers as the company looks to reduce operating costs following an April 10 wall slide at its Bingham Canyon Mine.

The workers are eligible for severance in accordance with parent company Rio Tinto Plc’s policies and will also receive employee assistance and access to services with the state’s Department of Workforce Services, the company said.

Additional reductions in other parts of the business will take place later this month, Kennecott said.

"At this time, Kennecott does not have the total number of employees impacted by the slide," the company said. "Kennecott is continuing to take measures to reduce the impacts to its work force by making employee preference a priority."

Employee preference includes vacation time, unpaid leave and a one-time $20,000 resignation incentive for retirement-eligible employees who are covered by the collective bargaining agreement with a deadline of May 31, the company said.

"It is always difficult when jobs are lost because of the direct impact it has on individuals and families. Kennecott is taking great care to reduce impacts to employees with the decisions being made," the company said.

Kennecott declared force majeure on shipments of copper cathode after the wall slide forced it to halt production (, April 16).

The Bingham Canyon Mine is expected to operate at reduced capacity for at least six months, and possibly longer, as a result of the slide, which was one of the biggest in history (, May 21).

AMM special correspondent Andrea Hotter visited the site recently to record video footage (please click here).

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