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Rio Tinto has upgraded its copper reserves by 20 million tonnes at its Kennecott Utah Copper mine.
The upgrade brings total reserves at the deposit to 106mt.
The copper-gold deposit is located around 300 metres underground and Rio said it expected to develop the resource using underground methods.
Rio Tinto copper chief executive Andrew Harding said in a statement the upgrade was a significant step to further developing the mine.
“While establishing this high grade underground resource at Kennecott Utah Copper is substantial in itself, it points the way to the significant underground potential of the asset,” he said.
The company has committed around $165 million to complete the next stage of exploration and development study at Kennecott.
It said it expected this work to be completed by 2014.
Yesterday Rio Tinto held its investor seminar in London and New York to investigate its copper and energy holdings.
At the seminar the company said it still had significant demand for its copper products and prices were strong.
But it said it remained cautious due to the unstable economic climate.
“Customer sentiment is now more cautious and physical markets are softer than they were six months ago, reflecting concerns over the health of the OECD economies and persistent volatility in financial markets,” it said.