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									 Fact sheet

Copper
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                                                                                  Rio Tinto fact sheet
                                                                                                     Copper
Our copper business




Rio Tinto is a leading international
business involved in each stage
of metal and mineral production.
The Group combines Rio Tinto plc,
which is listed on the London
Stock Exchange, and Rio Tinto
Limited, which is listed on the
Australian Securities Exchange.


The Rio Tinto mine in Spain               The Copper group’s pipeline of
supplied copper to the Roman              projects positions Rio Tinto as
Empire and is recognised as one           one of the world’s leading base
of the greatest copper deposits           metal producers. Nickel projects
ever found. This deposit gave its         in Indonesia and the United States
name to our company, which today          also offer a pathway for us to become
owns a world class copper business.       a top tier nickel producer.

Our Copper group’s portfolio              In 2009, the Copper group produced
comprises a diverse mix of                around 800,000 tonnes of copper,
operations and projects along             which places it among the top
the development pipeline. We              five producers in the world.
own copper operations – which
also produce gold, silver and
molybdenum by-products –
and development projects with
copper, nickel and other potential
by-products.




Left
Rio Tinto has interests in copper
operations in South Africa (pictured),
the US, Australia, Chile and Indonesia.
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Rio Tinto fact sheet
                   Copper




                            Copper




                            Copper is found in nearly every home and vehicle,
                            and in parts and appliances used in numerous
                            aspects of infrastructure and technology.


                            Producing copper                                             Using copper

                            Copper can be produced either from open pit or               The world uses more than 15 million tonnes of copper
                            underground mines. Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon mine           every year. Copper is found in nearly every home and
                            in the United States was one of the first large scale open   vehicle, and in parts and appliances used in numerous
                            pit mines to demonstrate economies of scale with its         aspects of infrastructure and technology. In many respects,
                            use of giant shovels and haul trucks moving hundreds         modern life would not have been possible without copper.
                            of thousands of tonnes per day.
                                                                                         There is good reason why copper has played an important
                            Now we are using block cave technology for a different       role in human civilisation for thousands of years. It can be
                            kind of economy of scale in underground mining. Block        easily shaped, moulded, rolled into sheets, or drawn into
                            caving involves undercutting the orebody to allow rock       thin wire. It blends easily with other metals to form useful
                            stresses and gravity to fragment the ore, so that it falls   alloys such as brass and bronze. It does not rust, and is an
                            naturally through cone shaped funnels to be collected        excellent conductor of electricity and heat.
                            at drawpoints for hoisting to surface.
                                                                                         Copper’s malleability, strength and resistance to corrosion
                            Crushed copper ore is finely ground, then concentrated,      make it useful in a broad range of building, construction
                            smelted and refined. At each stage, the copper content       and electrical applications. Wiring and plumbing are
                            increases as impurities are removed. Some of these           the largest markets for copper. In air conditioning and
                            “impurities” may include gold, silver or molybdenum,         refrigeration, copper acts as a heat exchanger. It’s also
                            which can be sold as by-products. Eventually, refined        an important material architecturally and used in such
                            copper of 99.99 per cent purity is produced.                 applications as roofing sheet.

                            Other oxide or low grade sulphide copper ores may be         Over the past century, demand for copper has increased
                            processed to refined metal by solvent extraction and         with the industrialisation of developing economies.
                            electrowinning, bypassing the smelter stage.                 As the number of people living in cities continues to
                                                                                         grow, there will be increased demand for copper used
                            Watch “From Ore to More” – an animated film about            in housing, infrastructure and consumer goods.
                            the lifecycle of copper – at www.kennecott.com.




                                                                                                                          Right
                                                                                                                          At each stage of processing,
                                                                                                                          copper concentration increases
                                                                                                                          as impurities are removed.
     Copper
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     Rio Tinto fact sheet
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Rio Tinto fact sheet
                   Copper




                            Rio Tinto supplies around 18 per cent of US
                            annual refined copper requirements from
                            the Bingham Canyon mine in Utah.

                            Our copper operations                     KUC is considering building a new      Grasberg
                                                                      Molybdenum Autoclave Process           Grasberg, located in the province
                            Kennecott Utah Copper                     (MAP) facility to increase the value   of Papua in Indonesia, is one of
                            Kennecott Utah Copper (KUC)               it receives from extraction of         the world’s largest copper and gold
                            (Rio Tinto: 100 per cent) operates the    molybdenum and rhenium, which          mines in terms of ore reserves and
                            Bingham Canyon mine, Copperton            are used as alloy metals. The MAP      production. It is owned and operated
                            concentrator and a smelter and            design includes a number of            by Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), the
                            refinery complex, near Salt Lake City,    energy conservation features and       principal and 91 per cent owned
                            US. The mine produces copper, gold,       an environmentally responsible         subsidiary of US based Freeport-
                            molybdenum and silver. As the             technique for producing molybdenum     McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX).
                            second largest copper producer in the     products. A steam recovery system      The Government of Indonesia owns
                            US (based on 2009 production), KUC        will be included to capture excess     the remaining nine per cent of PTFI.
                            supplies approximately 18 per cent        steam from the autoclave for use in    Rio Tinto has a joint venture with
                            of the nation’s annual refined            downstream processes.                  FCX giving us a 40 per cent share
                            copper requirements.                                                             of production above specific levels
                                                                                                             until 2021, and 40 per cent of all
                            KUC has been operating for more than                                             production after 2021.
                            100 years. It is well positioned on the
                            industry cost curve, benefiting from
                            significant co-product revenues from
                            gold and molybdenum.

                            KUC continues to be one of the most
                            prospective brownfield environments
                            of all Rio Tinto’s mines and has
                            significant options for further mine
                            life extensions. Recent exploration
                            led to the discovery of a world class
                            molybdenum deposit underneath
                            the Bingham open pit. Current
                            ore reserves will support open pit
                            operations until 2020 and this
                            could be extended to 2032 through
                            a combination of underground and
                            open pit options.                                                                             Top
                                                                                                                          Bingham Canyon, near Salt
                                                                                                                          Lake City, produces copper,
                                                                                                                          gold, molybdenum and silver.
                                                                                                                          Right
                                                                                                                          The mine has been operating
                                                                                                                          for more than 100 years.
     Copper
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     Rio Tinto fact sheet
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                                                                                                                            Rio Tinto fact sheet
                                                                                                                                               Copper
Escondida                                 Palabora                                 Northparkes
The Minera Escondida copper               Rio Tinto owns a 57.7 per cent stake     Northparkes is a copper and gold
mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert,           in South Africa’s Palabora Mining        mine located 27 kilometres north west
of which we own 30 per cent, is the       Company. The copper operation            of Parkes in the Central West of New
largest copper mine in the world          comprises an underground mine,           South Wales, Australia. Northparkes
in terms of annual production,            a concentrator, a copper smelter         is a joint venture between Rio Tinto
and has a mine life expected to be        with anode casting facilities and an     (80 per cent) and the Sumitomo
approximately 20 years. Escondida         associated acid plant, an electrolytic   Group (20 per cent).
accounts for approximately eight          refinery tank house, a rod casting
per cent of world primary copper          plant and by-product recovery plants.    Northparkes operates both
production. BHP Billiton owns                                                      underground block cave mines and
57.5 per cent of Escondida and is         The deposit was initially mined by       open cut mines on its mining leases
the operator and product sales agent.     open pit methods, but mining of the      and was the first in the country to
                                          open pit ceased in 2002. Palabora        use a variation of the cost effective
The Escondida district hosts two of       has developed a US$465 million           block cave mining technique in its
the largest porphyry copper deposit       block cave underground mine with         underground operations.
systems in the world, Escondida           a planned production rate of at least
and Escondida Norte, located five         32,000 tonnes of ore per day.            Ore is processed on site to produce
kilometres from Escondida.                                                         a high grade copper concentrate
                                          Palabora supplies most of South          which is then transported by road
                                          Africa’s copper needs and exports        train to the Goonumbla rail siding
                                          the balance. The refinery produces       approximately 13 kilometres from
                                          continuous cast rod for the              the mine. The containers are then
                                          domestic market and cathodes for         placed on to a train and transported
                                          export. Useful by-product metals         to Port Kembla, south of Wollongong,
                                          and minerals include zirconium           where the concentrate is shipped to
                                          chemicals, magnetite and nickel          customers primarily in Japan, China
                                          sulphate as well as small quantities     and India.
                                          of gold, silver and platinum.
                                                                                   Northparkes Mines owns 6,000
                                          Palabora also owns a nearby              hectares of land around the mine,
                                          vermiculite deposit which is mined       of which the mining lease covers
                                          and processed for sale worldwide.        1,630 hectares. The remaining land
                                          Vermiculite is a versatile industrial    is actively farmed using best practice
                                          mineral with hundreds of uses.           farming methods developed and
                                          The vermiculite operation comprises      adopted to maximise productivity
                                          an open pit mining operation and         and quality while conserving water
                                          recovery plant. Overseas subsidiaries    and soils.
                                          in the US, UK and Singapore
                                          are responsible for the sale and
                                          marketing of vermiculite.



Top
Escondida is the world’s largest copper
mine in terms of annual production.
Left
Northparkes uses a variety of cost
effective block cave mining techniques
in its underground operations.
08
Rio Tinto fact sheet
                   Copper




                            Our copper projects

                            The Copper group has developed a strong portfolio of                   La Granja
                            copper and nickel projects and has acquired interests                  La Granja in the Cajamarca region of northern Peru is
                            in four of the world’s largest known undeveloped copper                a copper project currently in the pre-feasibility phase.
                            and nickel deposits – Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, Resolution               Rio Tinto acquired the project in 2005 for US$22
                            in the US, La Granja in Peru and Sulawesi in Indonesia.                million plus a minimum investment of US$60 million,
                                                                                                   through a public bidding process carried out by the
                            Resolution Copper                                                      Peruvian Government.
                            The Resolution Copper project is situated in Superior,
                            Arizona, US, in the area of the depleted Magma Copper                  La Granja could represent the largest undeveloped
                            mine. Rio Tinto has a 55 per cent share in the project,                greenfield copper project in Latin America. It has the
                            in partnership with BHP Billiton. The pre-feasibility                  potential to be a very large, long life operation. Instead
                            study is currently underway.                                           of looking at La Granja as a conventional milling operation
                                                                                                   producing concentrates for export, the pre feasibility study
                            Exploration from 2001 to 2003 suggests that a large,                   is aimed at demonstrating the possibility of recovering
                            world class copper resource exists more than 2,000 metres              copper metal using leaching of copper from whole ore,
                            below surface. Pre feasibility studies are expected to be              with solvent extraction and electrowinning.
                            completed by 2013 with production at the new mine
                            expected to start by 2020, eventually ramping up to                    Pebble
                            500,000 tonnes per annum of copper1.                                   Rio Tinto has a 19.6 per cent equity holding in Northern
                                                                                                   Dynasty Minerals which owns a 50 per cent share in the
                            Oyu Tolgoi                                                             Pebble Joint Venture (Rio Tinto share in Pebble: 9.8 per
                            In 2006, Rio Tinto purchased a 9.9 per cent stake in                   cent). Northern Dynasty Minerals is advancing the Pebble
                            Ivanhoe Mines of Canada, in order to jointly develop                   copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in south western Alaska,
                            the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold resource in Mongolia’s                      which includes an orebody amenable to block caving.
                            south Gobi region.
                                                                                                   Sulawesi Nickel
                            In October 2009, Rio Tinto signed an investment                        The Sulawesi Nickel project, on the island of Sulawesi
                            agreement with the Government of Mongolia that clears                  in Indonesia, was discovered by Rio Tinto Exploration in
                            the way for us to develop Oyu Tolgoi, and we subsequently              2000. This deposit currently ranks as one of the largest
                            increased our interest in Ivanhoe Mines to 19.7 per cent               known undeveloped greenfield lateritic nickel deposits
                            with options to increase our stake further.                            in the world.

                            The operation is currently expected to come into                       Eagle
                            production as early as 2013 and reach production levels                Late in 2007, Rio Tinto approved the development of the
                            of 450,000 tonnes of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold                 Eagle nickel high grade underground mine in Michigan,
                            per year.                                                              US. There are similarities between Eagle and other world
                                                                                                   class magmatic nickel-sulphide deposits. Rio Tinto has
                            Entrée Gold                                                            an extensive land position in the Eagle district which is
                            In 2005, Rio Tinto acquired a 9.9 per cent stake in Entrée             extremely prospective, including a 30 kilometre identified
                            Gold Inc., a Canadian junior mining company. In 2007,                  trend containing multiple target intrusions.
                            Rio Tinto exercised warrants that took its direct equity
                            in Entrée Gold to 16 per cent. Entrée Gold’s main asset
                            includes three claims that surround the Ivanhoe Mines
                            Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

                            1
                              There are currently no defined Ore Reserves to supply any of the                                    Top
                            forecast production for this project. Such production is therefore                                    With Ivanhoe Mines of Canada,
                            subject to defining sufficient Ore Reserves for the project from the                                  we are developing the Oyu Tolgoi
                            current and any further identified mineralisation.                                                    copper-gold resource in Mongolia.
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                                                                                                                                          Rio Tinto fact sheet
                                                                                                                                                             Copper
Copper operations and projects†


Copper operations*                                      Copper projects               Gold operations
 1 Escondida (30%)                                       6 La Granja                   12 Rawhide
 2 Grasberg joint venture (40%)                          7 Oyu Tolgoi
 3 Kennecott Utah Copper                                   (19.7% of Ivanhoe Mines)
 4 Northparkes (80%)                                     8 Pebble (10%)
 5 Palabora (58%)                                        9 Resolution (55%)


                                                        Nickel projects                        †
                                                                                                Locations on the map are indicative
                                                         10 Eagle
                                                                                               Operations and projects are wholly owned
*By-products may include gold, silver and molybdenum.    11 Sulawesi                           unless otherwise shown.




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Rio Tinto plc                    Rio Tinto Limited
2 Eastbourne Terrace             120 Collins Street
London W2 6LG                    Melbourne, Victoria 3000
United Kingdom                   Australia

T +44 (0)20 7781 2000            T +61 (0)3 9283 3333       www.riotinto.com
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