The massive landslide at the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah could cut output by about 100 kt (110,000 st) for Kennecott Utah Copper and the Rio Tinto Group, the company said in its quarterly production report.
Ore production at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine was suspended and the timing of a restart is being studied.
The outage could leave the global copper market balance “quite tight” this year, Nomura International Plc said last week. Bingham Canyon, the world’s biggest man-made hole, has an annual production capacity of as much as 272 kt/a (300,000 stpy) of the metal used in tubes and wiring, according to Rio Tinto’s website. Last year, the mine produced 147 kt (163,000 st).
“It is estimated that 2013 mined and refined copper production at Kennecott Utah Copper will be less than previously anticipated by approximately 113 kt (125,000 st) and 91 t (100,000 st), respectively,” the company said. “As a result, Rio Tinto share of mined and refined copper production in 2013 is expected to be approximately 540 kt (595,000 st) and 205 kt (225,000 st), respectively.”