Rio and BHP submit plans to develop largest US copper mine

Rio Tinto and BHP are finalising plans to submit in the US which seek to develop one of the world’s largest copper deposits in a $US6 billion project.

Plans for the Resolution copper project in Arizona, 55 per cent owned by Rio and 45 per cent by BHP, are expected to be submitted this week and will detail how the global miners plan to run the site.

According to Rio’s website, the project has the capacity to produce 500,000 tonnes of copper.

Rio has reported an inferred resource of 1.624 billion tonnes containing 1.47 per cent copper, at depths exceeding 1,300 metres.

The US Forest Service is tasked with the decision on whether to approve Rio’s strategies around water management, mining practices, and other environmental issues, The Australian reports.

Resolution mine is currently in the prefeasibility stage, with the submission of the plan the first step in what could be a lengthy review.

If approved, the mine is expected to create 3,700 direct and indirect jobs.

Rio previously said it expected to be producing copper from the site in the early 2020s.

While copper hit a three-month low yesterday, dropping to $US6980 a tonne, analysts predict Chinese demand and delay on new supplies would see the metal remain steady over the next three years.

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