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Acid Plant Database  January 15, 2021

Owner Rio Tinto Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation

Kennecott-Logo.jpg (3832 bytes)    RioTinto-Logo.jpg (31537 bytes)

Location Smelter & Refinery
12000 West 2100 South
Magna, Utah
USA  84044
Background Parent company is Rio Tinto

1903 - Original Utah Copper Company was created to mine and process low grade copper ore found in a mountain in Bingham Canyon, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
1915 - Kennecott Mines became Kennecott Copper Corporation, which purchased a 25 percent interest in the Utah Copper Company and acquired all assets and property in 1936.
1947 - Utah Copper Company was dissolved and became the Utah Copper Division of Kennecott Copper Corporation.
1981 - Standard Oil of Ohio (SOHIO) purchased Kennecott.
1987 - British Petroleum bought SOHIO’s interests.
1989 - RTZ Corporation, now known as Rio Tinto, became the owner of Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation. The ownership of Kennecott changed once more in 1989, when BP agreed to sell most of its worldwide minerals business to the RTZ Corporation (Rio Tinto Zinc), one of the world’s largest mining endeavors. RTZ Corporation formed a new Kennecott, known as Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, to operate the Bingham Canyon Mine and other facilities in the Salt Lake Valley.
2009 -
Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation becomes Kennecott Utah Copper LLC

Website www.riotintokennecott.com
Plant -
Coordinates 40º 43' 24" N, 112º 11' 46" W
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source Copper
Outotec (Outokumpu) Flash Furnace and Flash Converting (1995) - replaces Noranda Reactor
Plant Capacity 3500 MTPD
SA/DA 3/1 DA
Emissions SO2: < 100 ppm (annual average)
        < 170 ppm (24 hour calendar day average)
        < 250 ppm (6 hour block average)
Acid Mist: < 0.67 mg/SCF
Opacity: < 15%
Status Operating
Year Built 1995
Technology MECS
Contractor MECS
Remarks The smelter -- the cleanest in the world -- captures 99.9% of the sulfur dioxide emissions produced. Once the sulfur dioxide gas is cleaned, it is piped to the acid plant, which converts the sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid. In this way, our acid plant acts as a huge pollution control device that also produces a high-quality commercial product.

Feed Gas: 14% SO2 (dry gas), O2:SO2 ratio = 0.986
Gas Cleaning: DynaWave
Heat Recovery: HRS
Bowers: 2 x 60% Steam Turbine Driven

The old smelter was constructed in the late 1970’s and included a complex material handling system, three (3) Noranda Reactors, four (4) Peirce-Smith converters and a three (3) furnace anode casting plant.   In 1987 environmental constraints limited the operation to one (1) Noranda reactor with three (3) hot Peirce-Smith Converters, but only two vessels could operate (blow) at once.  Concentrate smelting capacity was about 500,000 tonnes per year.  Process gas from the one (1) operating reactor and one (1) converter, about 290,000 Nm3/h, was treated in two (2) single contact sulphuric acid plants.

Permits State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Facility ID: 10346
Title V Operating Permit
Permit No. Issue Date Expiry Date Details
3500030002 July 9, 2007 - -
- - - -
Pictures       Kennecott Utah Copper - Salt Lake City 4.jpg (159166 bytes)  Kennecott-Utah-Copper-Salt-Lake-City-5.JPG (34064 bytes)   
General As the second largest copper producer in the United States, Kennecott Utah Copper produces over 17% of America's copper output.  That copper comes from the Bingham Canyon Mine, the worlds first and largest open pit copper mine, located about 28 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Every year, Kennecott produces about 300,000 tons of copper cathode-- along with 400,000 ounces of gold, 4 million ounces of silver, about 24 million pounds of molybdenum, and about 1 million tons of sulfuric acid, a by-product of the smelting process, which is used in farming and industry.
References -
News April 6, 2020 - Rio Tinto has enforced a force majeure on copper cathode contracts for the Kennecott mine in Utah, the United States, after an earthquake last month caused an emergency shutdown at the smelter.Force majeure is a contractual clause which absolves the relevant parties from honouring the terms of the contract due to an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond their control.  Rio Tinto stated that it had decided to declare force majeure on Kennecott shipments after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake impacted the operations on March 18.  “We are working to restart Kennecott’s smelter after the emergency shutdown in response to the earthquake and working with our customers to minimise any disruption in supply,” a Rio Tinto spokesperson said.  Rio Tinto produced 186,800 tonnes of copper at the Kennecott smelter near Salt Lake City last year, which also produces gold and silver as byproducts from its operations.  In December, Rio Tinto announced its plan to invest $1.5 billion to expand the Kennecott operation and extend its life of mine through to 2032.

January 26, 2018
- Rio Tinto lifted force majeure on Jan. 1 for shipments of refined copper and acid from its Kennecott mine in the United States, 79 days after declaring it could not meet customer commitments, a spokesman said on Friday.  The global miner declared force majeure October 13, after halting production of refined copper at its Utah mine smelter following the death of a worker exposed to sulfur dioxide gases at the plant. It restarted the smelter November 17.  “It’s business as usual,” said spokesman Kyle Bennett.  In the fourth quarter, refined copper production at Kennecott declined 67 percent compared with the same period in the previous year, to 22,100 tonnes from 67,000 tonnes, Rio said in an operations report last week.  The smelter was expected to draw down an increased concentrate inventory during the first half of 2018, Rio said.  In 2017, Kennecott produced 125,800 tonnes of refined copper, down some 20 percent from 2016. 

October 17, 2017
- Global miner Rio Tinto declared force majeure last Friday on shipments of refined copper from its Kennecott mine in the United States following the death of a worker, a spokesman said on Tuesday.  There was no timeline for when the force majeure would be lifted, spokesman Kyle Bennett said. A force majeure is usually implemented by companies during unforeseen events.  Rio Tinto halted production of refined copper at its smelter at the Utah-based mine on Oct. 8 after a worker was exposed to sulfur dioxide gases at the plant while removing debris from a boiler. The worker died two days later. Rio Tinto Kennecott comprises nearly 20 percent of U.S. copper production, Bennett said. The unit produced 156,500 tonnes of refined copper in 2016, about 63 percent of group output.  Rio Tinto has also declared force majeure on acid deliveries from the smelter, Bennett said.

October 11, 2017
A Kennecott employee exposed to sulfur dioxide over the weekend has died, company officials said.Albert Lozano, 64, was working at Rio Tinto Kennecott's smelter Sunday, performing regular duties to remove debris from a boiler, when he was exposed to the toxic gas, said Rio Tinto Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett.Lozano had been with the company for 12 years, Bennett said."Right now, we don't know exactly how the exposure took place," he said.A boiler is used as part of the smeltering process, Bennett explained, and every once in a while, particulate matter needs to be cleaned out of it.Lozano was treated at the scene before being taken to a local hospital, where he died Tuesday night, Bennett said."This is devastating news to our business. We pride ourselves on safety. So when something like this happens, it really shakes us to our core," he said.The entire Rio Tinto Kennecott plant shut down for an hour Wednesday as administrators and counselors checked on their employees' mental and physical well-being. The smelter will remain closed until the company can figure out what happened and determine whether it's safe, Bennett said.Employees who work at the smelter are required to wear a respirator while performing their duties, he said. It was not immediately known whether Lozano was wearing one Sunday.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth