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Rio Tinto declares force majeure at Utah smelter after worker death

Rio Tinto unit Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. declared force majeure on sales of copper and sulfuric acid, Metal Bulletin reported Oct. 16, citing company spokesperson Kyle Bennett.

The company reported that a worker died Oct. 10 after being exposed to sulfur dioxide at the Kennecott Utah smelting facility Oct. 8. Bennett said the smelting facility was closed following the incident, which is being investigated.

Rio Tinto recently revised down its full-year mined copper guidance to between 460,000 and 480,000 tonnes, from 500,000 to 550,000 tonnes previously, due to a delayed ramp-up of an expansion at the Escondida operations in Chile and the impact of mine sequencing changes at Rio Tinto Kennecott.