By Robb M. Stewart
MELBOURNE--A wall slide has forced Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.AU) to evacuate employees from its Bingham Canyon mine in Utah, one of the biggest producers of copper in the country.
All workers are safe and the company will in the coming days evaluate the impact of the slide on the northeast wall of the mine, Rio Tinto said in a statement posted on its website.
The Anglo-Australian mining company a day earlier said it had been closely monitoring ground movement at the mine in anticipation of a slide and had taken steps to reduce the possible affect on production by relocating buildings, roads and heavy machinery. At the start of the month it said a visitor center that was closed for the winter wouldn't reopen as planned in 2013 due to ground movement.
Rio Tinto's Kennecott Utah Copper unit located near Salt Lake City produced about 163,000 metric tons of refined metal in 2012 plus 279,000 ounces of gold and 9,400 tons of molybdenum. The company last June approved spending US$660 million to extend the life of the Bingham Canyon mine to 2029 from 2018.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at [email protected]
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