Rio Tinto Starts Producing Tellurium At Kennecott Copper Operation In Utah

Rio Tinto said it has started producing tellurium at its Kennecott copper operation in Utah.

The tellurium will be refined in North America by 5N Plus, a producer of specialty semiconductors and performance materials, under a commercial agreement between 5N Plus and Rio Tinto.

The company noted that the refined tellurium will primarily be supplied to First Solar under an existing supply contract between 5N Plus and First Solar.

5N Plus will also use the tellurium to manufacture ultra-high purity semiconductor materials at its facility in St. George, Utah, to serve the security and medical imaging markets.

About 20 tons of tellurium will be produced per year through a new $2.9 million circuit built at the Kennecott refinery.

Tellurium is listed as a critical mineral by the U.S. Government due to its importance to the economy and energy security.

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