Monday 15 April 2019 9:33 am

Rio Tinto invests $302m in US copper project as technological progress drives up demand

Rio Tinto has said it plans to sink another $302m (£230m) in a US copper project which will be able to supply nearly a quarter of the country’s demand.

The investment brings the total spent by Rio Tinto and its partners on the Resolution Copper project in Arizona up to more than $2bn.

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It comes 15 years after work began on the project, which is still waiting for approval from US authorities.

“Resolution is one of the most significant undeveloped copper deposits in the world and this additional funding demonstrates Rio Tinto’s commitment to bring the mine into production,” said chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

The project is in its seventh year of an environmental review and approval process by the US Forest Service. The environmental impact study is expected to be completed next year.

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The service has spoken to Native American tribes and consulted with individuals and environmental groups, municipalities and businesses. The project promises to bring several thousand direct and indirect jobs to the region, Rio Tinto said.

Jacques said: “The rise of electric vehicles, battery storage, new transmission technology and other green energy innovations are highly copper intensive. We need to prepare now to meet this future demand.”