Kennecott Utah Copper was once again a significant contributor to Rio Tinto’s success with earnings of $1.2 billion in 2011. These earnings are strongly tied to the progress we are making in safety and efficiency as well as strong market demand and pricing.
Our strong 2011 numbers are significant given the challenges our operations experienced with a lower-grade ore. As a result, we had more residual waste to separate, store and dispose of. We continue to focus on operational excellence and resource-maximization strategies to overcome these material challenges.
As the second-largest copper producer in the United States, Kennecott produces nearly 25 percent of U.S. copper. Our Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the top-producing copper mines in the world with total production of more than 19 million tons. In 2011, Kennecott produced 237,000 tons of copper, 379,000 troy ounces of gold, 3.2 million troy ounces of silver, 30 million pounds of molybdenum and other products.