April 11, 2013 / 9:47 PM / 4 years ago

Rio Tinto suspends work at Bingham Canyon mine in Utah after slide

LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Mining group Rio Tinto said on Thursday that it had suspended work at its Bingham Canyon mine near Salt Lake City, Utah, after a land slide late on Wednesday.

The company said in a statement that because movement on a wall had accelerated in recent weeks it was able to take preemptive measures to relocate facilities and roads before the slide. It said all employees were accounted for and safe.

"Mine operations are currently suspended while experts assess the extent of the slide and impact on operations," Rio said without giving details on how long this would take.

Bingham Canyon is part of Rio's Kennecott Utah Copper, the second-largest copper producer in the United States. The mine, one of the world's largest open pits, produced 163,200 tonnes of copper last year and 200,000 ounces of gold.

Rio said last June that it would invest $660 million over the next seven years to extend the life of Bingham Canyon to 2029 from 2018, enabling production at an average rate of 180,000 tonnes of copper, 185,000 ounces of gold and 13,800 tonnes of molybdenum a year.

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