Rio Tinto and the Centre for Underground Mine Construction
The mining giant has officially completed the construction of the, rather glamorous, Rio Tinto Centre for Undergr...
Rio Tinto can pop open the champagne.
The mining giant has officially completed the construction of the, rather glamorous, Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI).
The centre, in Canada, follows a $10million investment in Canada’s mining innovation and is designed to support the research of the Rio Tinto Mine of the Future Programme.
An excellent list for the Centre for Excellence:
The Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction was announced in November 2010. Based at the CEMI in Sudbury, Ontario,
As part of the $10million investment programme, Rio Tinto has conducted three new underground excavation systems, including the Northparkes’ copper and gold mine in New South Wales, Australia
It joins an illustrious list of five global long term Rio Tinto research centres, which include:
The Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation – in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney
The Rio Tinto Centre for Advanced Mineral Sorting – a partnership with the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre at The University of Queensland
The Rio Tinto Centre for Materials and Sensing - at Curtin University in Perth
The Rio Tinto Centre for Advanced Mineral Recovery – in collaboration with the Imperial College in London
The Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction – in collaboration with the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation in Canada
CEMI, under the guidance of program directors, identifies, assesses and manages industry-driven applied research & development projects that extend from geology and engineering to the natural sciences. Innovation is recognised through a three phase process, research, development and implementation.
The Rio Tinto Mine of the Future programme, launched in 2008, represents a focus on the extraction of deep underground minerals with minimal environmental impact as well as an improvement of the safety of miners.
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Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.