Rio Tinto Copper

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  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper


  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper


  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper




    Rio Tinto has interests in copperoperations in South Africa (pictured),the US, Australia, Chile and Indonesia.

    Our copper business

    The Rio Tinto mine in Spain

    supplied copper to the RomanEmpire and is recognised as oneof the greatest copper deposits

    ever found. This deposit gave itsname to our company, which todayowns a world class copper business.

    Our Copper groups portfoliocomprises a diverse mix of

    operations and projects alongthe development pipeline. Weown copper operations whichalso produce gold, silver and

    molybdenum by-products and development projects withcopper, nickel and other potential


    Rio Tinto is a leading internationalbusiness involved in each stageof metal and mineral production.The Group combines Rio Tinto plc,which is listed on the LondonStock Exchange, and Rio TintoLimited, which is listed on theAustralian Securities Exchange.

    The Copper groups pipeline of

    projects positions Rio Tinto asone of the worlds leading basemetal producers. Nickel projects

    in Indonesia and the United Statesalso offer a pathway for us to becomea top tier nickel producer.

    In 2009, the Copper group producedaround 800,000 tonnes of copper,

    which places it among the topve producers in the world.






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    At each stage of processing,copper concentration increasesas impurities are removed.


    Producing copper

    Copper can be produced either from open pit orunderground mines. Rio Tintos Bingham Canyon mine

    in the United States was one of the rst large scale openpit mines to demonstrate economies of scale with its

    use of giant shovels and haul trucks moving hundredsof thousands of tonnes per day.

    Now we are using block cave technology for a differentkind of economy of scale in underground mining. Block

    caving involves undercutting the orebody to allow rockstresses and gravity to fragment the ore, so that it fallsnaturally through cone shaped funnels to be collected

    at drawpoints for hoisting to surface.

    Crushed copper ore is nely ground, then concentrated,

    smelted and rened. At each stage, the copper contentincreases as impurities are removed. Some of these

    impurities may include gold, silver or molybdenum,which can be sold as by-products. Eventually, renedcopper of 99.99 per cent purity is produced.

    Other oxide or low grade sulphide copper ores may beprocessed to rened metal by solvent extraction andelectrowinning, bypassing the smelter stage.

    Watch From Ore to More an animated lm aboutthe lifecycle of copper at

    Using copper

    The world uses more than 15 million tonnes of copperevery year. Copper is found in nearly every home and

    vehicle, and in parts and appliances used in numerousaspects of infrastructure and technology. In many respects,

    modern life would not have been possible without copper.

    There is good reason why copper has played an importantrole in human civilisation for thousands of years. It can beeasily shaped, moulded, rolled into sheets, or drawn into

    thin wire. It blends easily with other metals to form usefulalloys such as brass and bronze. It does not rust, and is anexcellent conductor of electricity and heat.

    Coppers malleability, strength and resistance to corrosionmake it useful in a broad range of building, construction

    and electrical applications. Wiring and plumbing arethe largest markets for copper. In air conditioning and

    refrigeration, copper acts as a heat exchanger. Its alsoan important material architecturally and used in suchapplications as roong sheet.

    Over the past century, demand for copper has increasedwith the industrialisation of developing economies.As the number of people living in cities continues to

    grow, there will be increased demand for copper usedin housing, infrastructure and consumer goods.

    Copper is found in nearly every home and vehicle,

    and in parts and appliances used in numerousaspects of infrastructure and technology.






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  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper



    Rio Tinto supplies around 18 per cent of US

    annual rened copper requirements fromthe Bingham Canyon mine in Utah.


    Bingham Canyon, near SaltLake City, produces copper,gold, molybdenum and silver.Right

    The mine has been operatingfor more than 100 years.

    Our copper operations

    Kennecott Utah CopperKennecott Utah Copper (KUC)(Rio Tinto: 100 per cent) operates the

    Bingham Canyon mine, Coppertonconcentrator and a smelter and

    renery complex, near Salt Lake City,US. The mine produces copper, gold,molybdenum and silver. As thesecond largest copper producer in theUS (based on 2009 production), KUC

    supplies approximately 18 per centof the nations annual renedcopper requirements.

    KUC has been operating for more than100 years. It is well positioned on the

    industry cost curve, beneting fromsignicant co-product revenues from

    gold and molybdenum.

    KUC continues to be one of the mostprospective browneld environments

    of all Rio Tintos mines and hassignicant options for further minelife extensions. Recent exploration

    led to the discovery of a world classmolybdenum deposit underneaththe Bingham open pit. Current

    ore reserves will support open pitoperations until 2020 and thiscould be extended to 2032 through

    a combination of underground and

    open pit options.

    KUC is considering building a new

    Molybdenum Autoclave Process(MAP) facility to increase the valueit receives from extraction of

    molybdenum and rhenium, whichare used as alloy metals. The MAPdesign includes a number of

    energy conservation features andan environmentally responsibletechnique for producing molybdenum

    products. A steam recovery systemwill be included to capture excesssteam from the autoclave for use in

    downstream processes.

    GrasbergGrasberg, located in the province

    of Papua in Indonesia, is one ofthe worlds largest copper and goldmines in terms of ore reserves and

    production. It is owned and operatedby Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), the

    principal and 91 per cent ownedsubsidiary of US based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX).The Government of Indonesia owns

    the remaining nine per cent of PTFI.Rio Tinto has a joint venture withFCX giving us a 40 per cent share

    of production above specic levelsuntil 2021, and 40 per cent of allproduction after 2021.






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  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper



  • 8/2/2019 Rio Tinto Copper




    Escondida is the worlds largest coppermine in terms of annual production.Left

    Northparkes uses a variety of costeffective block cave mining techniquesin its underground operations.


    The Minera Escondida coppermine in Chiles Atacama Desert,

    of which we own 30 per cent, is thelargest copper mine in the worldin terms of annual production,and has a mine life expected to be

    approximately 20 years. Escondidaaccounts for approximately eightper cent of world primary copper

    production. BHP Billiton owns57.5 per cent of Escondida and isthe operator and product sales agent.

    The Escondida district hosts two ofthe largest porphyry copper deposit

    systems in the world, Escondida

    and Escondida Norte, located vekilometres from Escondida.


    Rio Tinto owns a 57.7 per cent stakein South Africas Palabora Mining

    Company. The copper operationcomprises an underground mine,a concentrator, a copper smelterwith anode casting facilities and anassociated acid plant, an electrolytic

    renery tank house, a rod castingplant and by-product recovery plants.

    The deposit was initially mined byopen pit methods, but mining of theopen pit ceased in 2002. Palabora

    has developed a US$465 millionblock cave underground mine witha planned production rate of at least

    32,000 tonnes of ore per day.

    Palabora supplies most of South

    Africas copper needs and exportsthe balance. The renery producescontinuous cast rod for the

    domestic market and cathodes forexport. Useful by-product metalsand minerals include zirconium

    chemicals, magnetite and nickelsulphate as well as small quantitiesof gold, silver and platinum.

    Palabora also owns a nearbyvermiculite deposit which is mined

    and processed for sale worldwide.Vermiculite is a versatile industrialmineral with hundreds of uses.

    The vermiculite operation comprisesan open pit mining operation andrecovery plant. Overseas subsidiaries

    in the US, UK and Singaporeare responsible for the sale andmarketing of vermiculite.

    NorthparkesNorthparkes is a copper and goldmine located 27 kilometres north west

    of Parkes in the Central West of NewSouth Wales, Australia. Northparkesis a joint venture between Rio Tinto

    (80 per cent) and the SumitomoGroup (20 per cent).

    Northparkes operates bothunderground block cave mines andopen cut mines on its mining leasesand was the rst in the country to

    use a variation of the cost effectiveblock cave mining technique in itsunderground operations.

    Ore is processed on site to producea high grade copper concentrate

    which is then transported by roadtrain to the Goonumbla rail sidingapproximately 13 kilometres from

    the mine. The containers are thenplaced on to a train and transportedto Port Kembla, south of Wollongong,

    where the concentrate is shipped tocustomers primarily in Japan, Chinaand India.

    Northparkes Mines owns 6,000

    hectares of land around the mine,of which the mining lease covers1,630 hectares. The remaining landis actively farmed using best practice

    farming methods developed andadopted to maximise productivityand quality while conserving water

    and soils.






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    With Ivanhoe Mines of Canada,we are developing the Oyu Tolgoicopper-gold resource in Mongolia.

    Our copper projects

    The Copper group has developed a strong portfolio ofcopper and nickel projects and has acquired interests

    in four of the worlds largest known undeveloped copperand nickel deposits Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, Resolutionin the US, La Granja in Peru and Sulawesi in Indonesia.

    Resolution CopperThe Resolution Copper project is situated in Superior,Arizona, US, in the area of the depleted Magma Copper

    mine. Rio Tinto has a 55 per cent share in the project,in partnership with BHP Billiton. The pre-feasibilitystudy is currently underway.

    Exploration from 2001 to 2003 suggests that a large,world class copper resource exists more than 2,000 metres

    below surface. Pre feasibility studies are expected to be

    completed by 2013 with production at the new mineexpected to start by 2020, eventually ramping up to

    500,000 tonnes per annum of copper1.

    Oyu TolgoiIn 2006, Rio Tinto purchased a 9.9 per cent stake inIvanhoe Mines of Canada, in order to jointly develop

    the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold resource in Mongoliassouth Gobi region.

    In October 2009, Rio Tinto signed an investmentagreement with the Government of Mongolia that clearsthe way for us to develop Oyu Tolgoi, and we subsequently

    increased our interest in Ivanhoe Mines to 19.7 per centwith options to increase our stake further.

    The operation is currently expected to come into

    production as early as 2013 and reach production levelsof 450,000 tonnes of copper and 330,000 ounces of goldper year.

    Entre GoldIn 2005, Rio Tinto acquired a 9.9 per cent stake in Entre

    Gold Inc., a Canadian junior mining company. In 2007,Rio Tinto exercised warrants that took its direct equityin Entre Gold to 16 per cent. Entre Golds main asset

    includes three claims that surround the Ivanhoe Mines

    Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

    La Granja

    La Granja in the Cajamarca region of northern Peru is

    a copper project currently in the pre-feasibility phase.Rio Tinto acquired the project in 2005 for US$22

    million plus a minimum investment of US$60 million,through a public bidding process carried out by thePeruvian Government.

    La Granja could represent the largest undevelopedgreeneld copper project in Latin America. It has the

    potential to be a very large, long life operation. Insteadof looking at La Granja as a conventional milling operationproducing concentrates for export, the pre feasibility study

    is aimed at demonstrating the possibility of recoveringcopper metal using leaching of copper from whole ore,with solvent extraction and electrowinning.

    PebbleRio Tinto has a 19.6 per cent equity holding in Northern

    Dynasty Minerals which owns a 50 per cent share in thePebble Joint Venture (Rio Tinto share in Pebble: 9.8 percent). Northern Dynasty Minerals is advancing the Pebble

    copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in south western Alaska,which includes an orebody amenable to block caving.

    Sulawesi NickelThe Sulawesi Nickel project, on the island of Sulawesiin Indonesia, was discovered by Rio Tinto Exploration in2000. This deposit currently ranks as one of the largest

    known undeveloped greeneld lateritic nickel depositsin the world.

    EagleLate in 2007, Rio Tinto approved the development of theEagle nickel high grade underground mine in Michigan,

    US. There are similarities between Eagle and other worldclass magmatic nickel-sulphide deposits. Rio Tinto hasan extensive land position in the Eagle district which is

    extremely prospective, including a 30 kilometre identiedtrend containing multiple target intrusions.

    1 There are currently no dened Ore Reserves to supply any of the

    forecast production for this project. Such production is therefore

    subject to dening sufcient Ore Reserves for the project from the

    current and any further identied mineralisation.






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    Copper projects

    La GranjaOyu Tolgoi

    (19.7% of Ivanhoe Mines)Pebble (10%)Resolution (55%)

    Nickel projectsEagle



    Copper operations and projects

    Copper operations*

    Escondida (30%)Grasberg joint venture (40%)Kennecott Utah Copper

    Northparkes (80%)Palabora (58%)























    Locations on the map are indicative

    Operations and projects are wholly ownedunless otherwise shown.

    Gold operations


    *By-products may include gold, silver and molybdenum.







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    Rio Tinto plc

    2 Eastbourne Terrace

    London W2 6LG

    United Kingdom

    T +44 (0)20 7781 2000

    Rio Tinto Limited

    120 Collins Street

    Melbourne, Victoria 3000


    T +61 (0)3 9283 3333