5 million ounces of annual silver supply and 500,000 ounces of annual gold supply have just been
Rio Tinto’s Kennecott mine in Utah- the US’ 2nd largest silver mine and world’s largest copper mine has just suffered a massive landslide which will likely shut down production at the mine for years as upwards of 1 billion tons of dirt and ore have collapsed into the basin.
16% of US annual silver production just vanished. Good thing there aren’t any physical supply issues in silver currently or anything…
Astonishing Photos below:
According to Rio Tinto’s VP of Marketing Vania Grandi, Kennecott produces up to 5 million ounces of silver, and 1/2 million ounces of gold annually:
“We produce about 3 (million) to 5 million ounces of silver a year and 300,000 to 500,000 ounces of gold,” said Vania Grandi, vice president of marketing for the Precious Metals Copper Group at Rio Tinto — parent company of Kennecott Utah Copper Corp.
The total US mine output for silver in 2012 was 1,050 tons for 2012 or 30.6 million ounces, and US gold production was 230 tons, meaning Rio Tinto’s Kennecott accounted for upwards of 16% of total US silver supply, and 5% of US gold supply!!!
The loss of 5 million ounces in domestic silver supply will have a DIRECT AFFECT on the Sunshine mint’s ability to source silver for blanks- which are used in the production of American Silver Eagles, which are already being rationed (allocated) due to physical supply constraints.
Look for premiums on ASE’s to go super-nova as the implications of the Kennecott landslide work their way down-stream!
Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine pit wall slide
At 9.30 pm local time on 10 April 2013, Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a slide along a geotechnical fault line of its north eastern wall. Movement on the north eastern wall had accelerated in recent weeks and pre-emptive measures were taken to relocate facilities and roads prior to the slide. All employees are safe and accounted for.
Mine operations are currently suspended while experts assess the extent of the slide and impact on operations.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.|
In addition to copper, the mine also produces about 400,000 ounces of gold, 4 million ounces of silver and 20 million pounds of molybdenum.
Located 28 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, the mine is 2 3/4-miles across and 3/4-mile deep. It is so big that it can be seen from outer space. Standing at the overlook within the Bingham Canyon Mine, you can see, hear, and feel the breathtaking and awesome magnitude of this massive man-made excavation. Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine is the world’s largest man-made excavation!
Thankfully, there were no casualties in the collapse as Kennecott suspended operations and tours April 1st due to slope movement on the northeast wall over the winter.
Going to take an extra 400 million ounces of paper silver a year to make up for Rio Tinto’s lost supply of 4 million ounces of silver/year.
More info on the Kennecott mine:
About the Mine…
* Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine has produced more copper than any mine in history – about 18.1 million tons.
* The mine is 2-3/4 miles across at the top and 3/4 of a mile deep. You could stack two Sears Towers (now known as the Willis Building) on top of each other and still not reach the top of the mine.
* The mine is so big, it can be seen by the space shuttle astronauts as they pass over the United States.
* By 2015, the mine will be at least 500 feet deeper than it is now.
* If you stretched out all the roads in the open pit mine, you’d have 500 miles of roadway – enough to reach from Salt Lake City to Denver.