RPT-Rio Tinto to resume loading at Utah copper mine

Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:46pm EDT

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto's Kennecott Utah Copper expects to begin transporting copper ore to the concentrator at its Bingham Canyon mine in the next few days, after a landslide forced it to stop operations.

A spokesman for the company said crushers, tunnels and the conveyor system had now been checked and were found to be unaffected by the landslide earlier this month.

"We anticipate being able to start transporting ore to the concentrator in the next few days. Clearly it will be at significantly reduced volumes," he said on Friday.

Rio had been forced to invoke force majeure with respect to contracts with copper cathode and sulphuric acid customers, and the company said that remained in place.

Rio said at the time of its first-quarter production statement that it expects Kennecott's 2013 copper production to be reduced by about 100,000 tonnes because of the slide.

Kennecott is the second-largest copper producer in the United States. Bingham Canyon, one of the world's largest open pits, produced 163,200 tonnes of copper last year, as well as 200,000 ounces of gold.

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