Copper mines, like this one in Utah, are on the frontline of America’s transition to clean energy. This site, owned and operated by mining giant Rio Tinto, produces roughly 200,000 metric tons of copper annually — with room to grow. Global demand for copper, a major component of EVs, is expected to almost double from 25 million metric tons to nearly 49 million metric tons by 2035. But miners face a multitude of issues as they ramp up production, not least of which includes mitigating environmental damage, addressing the concerns of the local stakeholders, and operating in remote regions of the world.
Based in the UK, Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest mining companies with projects in 35 countries. In addition to its 17 iron ore mines in Western Australia that produce material used in steel, its products include aluminum, diamonds, and boron, a component in fertilizer and smartphones. Historically miners have been known for their environmental impact but today are increasingly recognized as crucial players in the transition to green energy. So what is Rio Tinto doing to ramp up production of its critical minerals business and how will China’s economic slowdown impact its iron ore sector? CNBC got a behind the scenes look at Rio Tinto’s Utah operation to find out.
3:02-6:25 Chapter 1 Kennecott
6:26-8:36 Chapter 2 History
8:37-10:58 Chapter 3 Mining challenges
10:59:13:30 Chapter 4 Automation in mining
Produced and Shot by: Shawn Baldwin
Edited by: Darren Geeter
Supervising Producer: Jeniece Pettitt
Additional Camera: Katie Brigham, Magdalena Petrova
Animations: Christina Locopo
Narrated by: Robert Ferris
Additional Footage: Getty Images, Rio Tinto
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