Employee at Kennecott operations


120 years of mining Premier American copper. Many more to come.

Copper, gold, silver, molybdenum, tellurium





Refined copper production





2023 figures

Our Kennecott mine is a world-class, integrated copper mining operation located just outside Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. Kennecott has been mining and processing minerals from the rich ore body of the Bingham Canyon Mine since 1903, and today is one of the top producing mines in the world. Our operation includes a concentrator, smelter and refinery and tailings storage facility.

Reducing our carbon footprint

Kennecott has one of the lowest carbon footprint of any copper producer in the United States — and initiatives such as the 2019 power plant closure and a shift to renewable energy sources have removed more than 1 million tons of CO2 emissions, lowering Kennecott’s annual carbon footprint by as much as 65%. We’ve paired 1.5 million MWh of electricity with Green-e Energy certified carbon-free renewable energy certificates, primarily from wind and solar resources. And we’re trialling underground battery electric vehicles at Kennecott to improve employee health and safety, increase productivity, and reduce carbon emissions from future underground mining fleets. We’re using a battery electric haul truck and loader to evaluate performance and suitability as part of underground development work.

In October 2022, Kennecott launched a renewable diesel trial, which will compare acceleration, speed, cycle times, fuel usage, and engine inspection reports for 2 trucks running on renewable diesel versus 2 trucks running on conventional diesel.

Trialling both battery-electric vehicles and renewable diesel will ensure we can pick the solutions that are best tailored to our operational needs, based on actual data.

These are important milestones in achieving Rio Tinto’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

This Isn't Just Copper

120 Years of Responsibly Mined Copper

Our Kennecott mine has operated for 120 years, providing domestically-sourced copper to the United States and beyond. As we look towards the energy transition, Kennecott will continue to play an important role by responsibly mining and smelting this critical mineral for our electric vehicles, our renewable energy, and numerous other vital applications.
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Visit the Bingham Canyon Mine

The Visitor Experience is dedicated to educating the public about the key role Kennecott plays in modern life, safe mining practices, and responsible environmental stewardship. Learn about our history and see first-hand the gigantic scale of our operation, vehicles, and artifacts. Discover how ore gets processed and refined to become 99.99% copper, an essential element in today’s infrastructure, manufacturing, and technology. 

You can also learn more about the Bingham Canyon Mine by taking a virtual tour of our operation

Improving energy efficiency

At Kennecott, we continue to look for new ways to improve energy efficiency and increase our on-site-generated power supply. The $10 million, 6.2 MW combined heat and power (CHP) system – large enough to power 6,000 average-sized homes – is one example of how we are doing this, generating enough power to supply up to 50% of the electrical needs of the refinery.

CHP, also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable way to generate power from a single fuel source.

Responsible production

Our voluntary commitments and accreditations include a number of global, regional and national organisations and initiatives, and industry accreditation programs.

Kennecott currently has several environment, social and governance (ESG) partnerships and additional partnerships planned for 2023. Key partnerships include:

  • Utah Clean Air: Kennecott is a founding member of this clean air initiative organisation.
  • Natural History Museum of Utah: We share an educational experience about minerals, geology, and responsible mining.
  • Utah Clean Energy: The Climate Innovation Center is a net-zero climate showcase.
  • Salt Lake County: We have a partnership to develop several miles of trails in Butterfield Canyon, in and around 500 acres of Kennecott land, to provide more recreational opportunities to our local community.
  • Loveland Living Planet Aquarium: We’re involved in community engagement to protect our waters and natural habitat.
  • American Heart Association: We’re helping save and improve lives by funding a variety of programs and initiatives such as Adopt-A-Clinic and Heart & Stroke Walk.

In 2020, the Kennecott operation became the first in the world to be awarded the Copper Mark, the industry’s first and only independent assurance program – verifying the copper is responsibly produced. Originally developed by the International Copper Association with input from stakeholders including customers, NGOs and producers, the Copper Mark assures that our copper meets the highest environmental and social standards, including a transparent and responsible supply chain.

Our Kennecott operation has also been awarded the Molybdenum Mark, an independent certification that the molybdenum from our site is responsibly produced with high environmental, social and governance standards. As a by-product from copper mines, molybdenum has a critical role to play in the green transition as a vital material in clean energy technologies and sustainable construction practices in many areas. This certification demonstrates our continued commitment and leadership to sustainability – to be a responsible producer that is committed to finding better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

We are also progressing innovative ways to reduce waste from our operations and while supplying critical minerals that are crucial to the energy transition. So in May 2022, Kennecott began production of tellurium, a critical mineral used in solar panels that is helping develop a new US supply stream for the renewable energy industry.


We’ve now completed the first phase of the south wall pushback at Kennecott, extending the mine’s life to 2026. We are gradually accessing higher copper grades.

Stripping for the $1.5 billion second phase, extending operations to 2032, remains on track. The investment will further extend strip waste rock mining and support additional infrastructure development, to allow mining to continue into a new area of the ore body and deliver close to one million tonnes of refined copper between 2026 and 2032.

We are also progressing feasibility studies to extend open pit mining at Kennecott beyond 2032. The planned mine expansion, referred to as Apex, will produce an additional 1.5 million tons of copper and extend the life of mine to about 2040.

In September 2022, we approved a $55 million investment in development capital to start underground mining and expand production at Kennecott. Underground mining will initially focus on an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS), which will deliver a total of around 30 kilotonnes of additional high quality mined copper through to 2027 alongside open cut operations. The first ore is expected to be produced in early 2023, with full production in the second half of the year. It will be processed through the existing facilities at Kennecott, one of only 2 operating copper smelters in the United States.


Kennecott is committed to environmental stewardship. Employees work diligently to prevent, reduce and remediate effects of the operation on the environment. Kennecott sets self-imposed environmental performance targets to drive continuous improvement. We strive to be a leader in environmental performance by demonstrating responsible management of natural resources, reducing our environmental footprint and exceeding community expectations for sustainable development.

Kennecott has transformed acreage once dominated by over-grazed lands, salt evaporation ponds and illegal dumps into a 3,670-acre shorebird and waterfowl reserve along the south shore of Great Salt Lake.

In 1996, we helped to create the Kennecott Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve (ISSR) under a mitigation plan and today, the reserve is one of the largest and most successful mitigations in the United States. The number of bird species using the reserve area has gone from 50 in 1995 to 200 – a 300% increase – and today, approximately 120,000 birds use the reserve every year.

Kennecott communities

Our commitment to making a positive impact in the communities in which we operate – and where so many of our employees live – is an important part of how we do business. For example, we have been working with the Natural History Museum of Utah for more than 40 years on award-winning science education programs, community enrichment initiatives and exhibits about the natural world. In 2008, we donated copper, which today, adorns the outside of the Museum’s home at the Rio Tinto Center.

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Have your say about Rio Tinto Kennecott

We are working with global research company, Voconiq, to deliver a community engagement initiative called Local Voices. If you are aged 18 years or older and live or work near the Kennecott operations, we would love for you to provide your feedback through the 100% confidential Local Voices survey that Voconiq is conducting on our behalf.  

Your feedback will help us engage with the issues that matter most to you and your community. You will also be supporting your local community as every survey completed earns donations for local community groups.

Local Voices is open from 6 May 2024. 
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Copper plays a critical role in the clean energy transition

From the days of antiquity, copper has been used for its many benefits: tough but malleable, corrosion-resistant and recyclable, and an excellent conductor of heat and transmitter of electricity.

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Independently verified, responsibly produced

Independent industry stewardship programs help assure our customers of our responsible value chain. Our Kennecott and Oyu Tolgoi copper operations have been awarded the Copper Mark, the copper industry’s independently assessed responsible production program. Kennecott has also been awarded the Molybdenum Mark, an application of the same rigorous framework to molybdenum producers - molybdenum is a copper mining byproduct and a vital material in clean energy technologies and sustainable construction practices. These 2 certifications demonstrate our continued commitment to responsible production as we find better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

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Discover more about life at Rio Tinto.

Kennecott downloads

Kennecott certificates
Kennecott Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Code of Practices Certificate
174 KB
Kennecott Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Chain of Custody Certificate
120 KB
Kennecott LBMA Responsible Gold Certificate 2022
386 KB
Kennecott LBMA Responsible Silver Certificate 2022
385 KB
Rio Tinto Kennecott Apex and East Tailings Expansion
1.2 MB
Kennecott LBMA Refiner Compliance Report 2023
325 KB
Kennecott LBMA Independent Limited Assurance Report Gold and Silver
3.3 MB
Kennecott Responsible Minerals Sourcing Policy
458 KB

Contact Kennecott

Rio Tinto Kennecott

4700 Daybreak Parkway
South Jordan Utah 84009
United States

Community enquiries

For enquiries or complaints, please contact us.

Visitor experience

Open 7 days a week
From April to October
(weather permitting)
12732 Bacchus Hwy
Herriman Utah 84096
United States

24-hour environmental enquiries hotline