Rio Tinto to keep Resolution’s copper in U.S.

A Rio Tinto senior executive said that the miner 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, reported Reuters.

“Certainly if Resolution comes on stream, all of that copper we would like it to be sold in the U.S.,” said Bold Baatar, head of Rio’s copper business, in an interview on the sidelines of the World Copper Conference in Santiago.

The proposed Resolution underground mine would be the largest copper mine in North America, capable of producing up to 25% of U.S. copper demand each year.

In mid-April, Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit group comprised of the San Carlos Apache tribe and others, asked all members of a U.S. appeals court to overturn an earlier ruling that granted land for the project to Rio Tinto and minority partner BHP. The group says the proposed mine would destroy a site of religious importance.

“Resolution Copper is aware of Apache Stronghold’s extraordinary action to seek review of the 9th Circuit’s full panel and we await the court’s direction on next steps,” a Rio Tinto spokesperson told Reuters.

Rio Tinto 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.

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