Kennecott Utah Copper Looks at Extending Bingham Canyon Pit
HPit diagrams illustrate the location and scope of Rio Tinto subsidiary Kennecott
Rio Tinto subsidiary Kennecott Utah Copper is evaluating the
potential for extending the life of its Bingham Canyon mine in
Utah to 2028 and studying additional extensions that may allow
continued mining to 2030 or 2040. Called the Cornerstone project,
the extension to 2028 would allow Kennecott to maintain
current production levels. The company expects the evaluation
process to take two years. Approval by the Rio Tinto board of directors
will be required before the project gets under way.
Utah’s Cornerstone project, a pit pushback to access an additional 700 million tons
of ore that would extend the life of the Bingham Canyon pit by several decades.
The Cornerstone project entails pushing back the south wall of
the Bingham Canyon mine about 1,000 ft and deepening the
mine about 300 feet to reach 700 million tons of ore resource.
This will require increasing the size of the pit’s haul fleet, adding
an in-pit crusher, and adding another grinding line and supporting
equipment at the Copperton concentrator. Kennecott will also
need to generate or procure another 100 MW of electricity to
power these improvements. The existing refinery and smelter will
not require expansion.
According to Kennecott Utah Copper, of the 70 primary environmental
permits that Kennecott operates under, roughly 25 will
require an update to accommodate the Cornerstone project.
As featured in Womp 2010 Vol 07 - www.womp-int.com