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Kennecott gives Bingham production update

Keywords: Tags  Kennecott Utah Copper, Bingham Canyon, copper mine, landslide, Andrea Hotter

NEW YORK — Kennecott Utah Copper expects to finish remediation work at its Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah by the end of 2015 and hopes production will be back at pre-slide levels by 2016.

The company, owned by London-based miner Rio Tinto Plc, suffered a massive slide at the mine in April (, April 11) and has since been operating on a significantly reduced basis.

A main access ramp that is critical to the recovery process is expected to open by the end of the year, providing significantly improved access to the mine site, Kennecott said. Bingham Canyon is a single-access operation, with one road used by heavy mining equipment, such as trucks and shovels, to access ore from the lower pit of the mine.

At the time of the slide, Kennecott estimated that production of mined and refined copper would fall by about 50 percent this year as a result of the slide.

A company spokesman told AMM that the company is currently delivering around 100,000 short tons of ore daily to the concentrator, with its stockpiled ore providing a steady portion of this supply.

The company declared force majeure on shipments of copper cathode from June as a result of the slide on the northeast wall, which dumped some 150 million tonnes of ore into the mine pit (, April 16).

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