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Rio Tinto delays restart of Utah smelter

Rio Tinto said in mid-August that it was experiencing delays in its smelter restart at the Kennecott copper mine outside of Salt Lake City due to “unexpected issues” following planned maintenance.

While the miner did not indicate the nature of the issue, it confirmed it was working with its customers to ensure any disruptions would be limited.

As a result, Kennecott’s facility is expected to come back online “in two months,” or sometime in late October. The company adjusted its guidance for whole-year 2020 to 135,000 to 175,000 tons of refined copper, down from 165,000 to 205,000 tons.

In related company news, Rio Tinto announced in late August it was the first producer to be awarded the Copper Mark, the copper industry’s independently assessed responsible production program. It met more than 30 of the criteria for responsible environmental, social and government practices.

Originally developed by the International Copper Association with input from a broad range of stakeholders including customers, NGOs and producers, the Copper Mark is now an independent entity with a multi-stakeholder council, Rio Tinto noted.

To achieve the Copper Mark, Kennecott operations were independently assessed across more than 30 criteria covering the categories of environment, community, business and human rights, labor and working conditions, and governance.