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Rio Tinto temporarily closes Utah copper mine after earthquake

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(Kitco News) - Rio Tinto has temporarily halted operations at its big Kennecott mine near Salt Lake City, Utah, as a result of a 5.7-magnitude earthquake close to the town of Magna, the company announced Wednesday.

Officials said all employees have been safely accounted for and evacuated from any potential risk areas. A preliminary review showed limited damage to the operation, with a more detailed inspection of the complex occurring in conjunction with the local emergency services and Utah Department of Transportation.

The company said the temporary halt to operations is in line with standard procedures pre-agreed upon with the Utah Department of Transportation. State Road 201 has been temporarily closed while the inactive South (Magna) tailings storage facility is inspected.

“The safety of our employees and wider community is our first priority and having ensured that all our employees are safe and the operations are shut, we are now working with the local emergency services and regulators to ensure the asset is safe before resuming any operations,” said Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds chief executive.

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