Today: May 28, 2024
Today: May 28, 2024

Rio Tinto aims to keep Resolution's copper in US, executive says

Share This
LA Post: Rio Tinto aims to keep Resolution's copper in US, executive says
April 16, 2024
Ernest Scheyder - Reuters

By Ernest Scheyder

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Rio Tinto aims to keep all of the copper from its Resolution mine inside the United States should the long-delayed and controversial project win regulatory approval, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

The Arizona mine would, if developed, over its life produce more than 40 billion pounds (18.1 million metric tons) of copper and supply more than a quarter of U.S. demand, but it is strongly opposed by some Native Americans given concerns the project could destroy a site of religious and cultural import.

That has placed Resolution at the center of a simmering debate about where best to secure copper and other critical minerals for the clean energy transition.

Some of Resolution's opponents have repeatedly alleged that Anglo-Australian miner Rio would export the project's copper, but the company sees strong demand inside the United States, Bold Baatar, head of Rio's copper business, said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Copper Conference in Santiago.

"Certainly if Resolution comes on stream, all of that copper we would like it to be sold in the U.S.," he said.

Rio operates Utah's Kennecott copper mine and smelter, with all of its production consumed inside the country. The only other U.S. copper smelter is operated by Freeport-McMoRan.

A Native American group on Monday asked all members of a U.S. appeals court to overturn an earlier ruling that granted land to Rio and minority partner BHP to develop Resolution. U.S. President Joe Biden had separately paused a regulatory decision on the project in 2021.

Baatar said he would be tracking the court case. He and Rio have long said they believe Resolution can be developed safely.

"The U.S. is endowed with the resources. It's probably one of the most stringent environmental, legal and regulatory frameworks in the world," Baatar said.

"I think the U.S. will be making a choice between 'in our backyard' or 'in somebody else's backyard.' But there's no security of supply if it's somebody else's backyard."

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

The global copper industry has in recent years faced rising opposition to a slew of projects, including Resolution as well as First Quantum's Cobre Panama, which Panamanian officials forced to close last year, taking 1% of the world's supply of the red metal offline.

That has sparked concerns from Baatar and other industry executives about how the world can obtain the copper needed for the energy transition.

Given growing appetite for copper from the personal electronics industry, as well as for use in artificial intelligence technologies, prices are expected to jump more than 30% in coming years, analysts say.

"(Copper) demand is really the least of the issues at the moment. I think it's the supply side," said Baatar, who will become Rio's chief commercial officer later this year in a move widely seen as positioning him to eventually become its CEO.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Jamie Freed)

Popular

US company rejects Mexico's criticism, buy-out offer, says president's projects hurt the environment

An American quarry company has rejected the Mexican president’s campaign of criticisms and closures, and his offer to buy its property on the Caribbean coast

US company rejects Mexico's criticism, buy-out offer, says president's projects hurt the environment

German business sentiment stagnates in May

German business morale stagnated in May, a survey showed on Monday, falling short of a forecast improvement and suggesting the recovery of Germany's economy this

German business sentiment stagnates in May

Indonesia probing Shopee, Lazada units for alleged competition rule breaches

Indonesia's anti-trust agency said on Monday it is investigating the local units of e-commerce platforms Shopee and Lazada for suspected violations of anti-competition rules.

Indonesia probing Shopee, Lazada units for alleged competition rule breaches

China Vanke sells Shenzhen land plot at loss-making reserve price

Cash-strapped China Vanke has sold a Shenzhen land plot via auction for 2.24 billion yuan ($309.18 million), a filing on Monday showed, more than 27% below the price it

China Vanke sells Shenzhen land plot at loss-making reserve price

Nigeria is emerging as a critical mineral hub. The government is cracking down on illegal operations

Nigeria’s government is cracking down on illegal mining, making dozens of arrests of unlicensed miners since April for allegedly stealing the country’s lithium, a critical mineral used in batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones and power systems

Nigeria is emerging as a critical mineral hub. The government is cracking down on illegal operations

Related

G7 finance leaders to call on Israel to maintain Palestinian bank links

G7 finance leaders to call on Israel to maintain Palestinian bank links

Shares of China Evergrande's EV unit soar after liquidators' stake sale deal

Shares of China Evergrande's EV unit soar after liquidators' stake sale deal

Chinese property developer Kaisa's liquidation hearing adjourned

Chinese property developer Kaisa's liquidation hearing adjourned

In China, Starbucks tries to avoid price war but gets dragged into discounting

In China, Starbucks tries to avoid price war but gets dragged into discounting
- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer