Rio Tinto Moves to Renewable Electricity at Kennecott Copper

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href="" target="_blank"gt;#InsideKennecottlt;/agt;–Rio Tinto will reduce the annual carbon footprint associated with its
Kennecott Utah Copper operation by as much as 65 percent through
purchasing renewable energy certificates and permanently shutting its
coal power plant.

Kennecott’s electricity needs will now be paired with 1.5 million
megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates supplied by Rocky
Mountain Power, primarily sourced from its Utah allocated portfolio
including wind power from Wyoming.

The change will reduce the annual carbon footprint associated with the
operation by over one million tonnes CO2.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said, “Rio Tinto is committed to
playing a part in the transition to a low-carbon economy. This move will
significantly reduce emissions associated with our operations in
Kennecott and allow us to offer customers copper, gold and silver with a
reduced carbon footprint. The materials we produce, from infinitely
recyclable aluminium and copper used in electrification to borates used
in energy-efficient building materials and our higher grade iron ore
product, all play a part in this transition to a low-carbon economy. Rio
Tinto will continue to work with partners and customers to develop new
sustainable solutions.”

The move to support renewable power is the result of collaboration
with the Utah government, local communities and Rocky Mountain
Power to improve air quality and deliver an alternative power solution.

The Governor of Utah Gary Herbert said, “Rio Tinto’s decision to retire
their power plant is a win-win for our community. Their decision will
simultaneously support Utah’s shift toward a low carbon economy and
improve air quality in the Salt Lake Valley.”

This is the latest initiative to make Kennecott greener. Since 2005,
it has been smelting scrap metal such as old copper wiring into its
smelting process. In 2018, it processed more than 2.8 million pounds of
copper from recycled scrap metal, enough to provide the electrical
wiring in 6,400 new homes.

Notes for editors

The renewable energy certificates are Green-e Energy certified and meet
the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the
nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at

Renewable energy certificates are proof that renewable energy has been
generated and delivered to the electricity grid on the owner’s behalf
from renewable sources such as solar or wind power. For each
megawatt-hour of renewable energy generated, a certificate is created.
The move to using renewable energy certificates at Kennecott is subject
to regulatory approval by the Utah Public Service Commission.

The coal power station operated for 75 years and has been idle since
2017 as part of managing seasonal air quality and maintenance
requirements. The decision to permanently shut the plant has been made
over other options such as moving to gas. After electricity, the other
main energy sources at Kennecott are diesel power in mining fleet and
natural gas in processing facilities.

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