This Morning in Metals: Rio Tinto revises copper guidance downward amid Kennecott delays

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This morning in metals news: miner Rio Tinto revised its 2020 refined copper output guidance; Tokyo Steel resumed exports to China for the first time in a decade; and the future is uncertain for Liberty Steel’s Georgetown steel mill.

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Rio Tinto revises 2020 copper output guidance

Amid operational delays at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott mine in Utah, the miner has revised its 2020 refined copper output guidance.

“We are working closely with our customers to limit any disruptions and expect to have the smelter fully operational in two months,” the miner said in a prepared statement.

As a result, Rio Tinto moved its production guidance for refined copper down to 135-175 kt (from 165-205 kt).

Tokyo Steel to resume exports to China

Meanwhile, Japanese steelmaker Tokyo Steel is set to send exports to China for the first time in 10 years, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The exports come amid surging steel demand in China as it recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgetown steel mill’s future uncertain

Liberty Steel said its Georgetown steel mill’s future is “unsustainable,” the Post and Courier reported.

In April, Liberty Steel announced the closure of the Georgetown mill for at least three months. However, the mill remains closed.

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