Kennecott expands plans for molybdenum plant

Almost two years after an initial announcement that it was going to build a processing facility in Magna – a plan unveiled just before the global economic meltdown – Kennecott’s parent company has decided to build a more advanced facility. It will be capable of processing even lower-grade molybdenum. Rio Tinto will now invest USD 340 million – up from the original USD 270 million estimate – in a two-phase process to build the facility, expected to be fully functional by early in 2015. Rather than using conventional roasters to recover molybdenum from excavated materials, the new facility revolves around an autoclave, which exposes products to high-pressured steam. The facility will release fewer greenhouse gases than conventional roasters and will be equipped with a heat-recovery system to produce steam that will power most of the facility’s electrical requirements. Construction of the first phase of the facility is expected to wrap up in the last few months of 2012. Full production of 30 million pounds is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013.

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