Rio Tinto: Copper Mining for Our Future

Minerals and metals are essential to our modern medical world and are key to many of the medicinal innovations we see today, serving as the building blocks of the life-saving medical devices and medications that doctors and patients rely on every day. The antimicrobial and antiviral properties of minerals have never been more relevant or needed. Copper is naturally antimicrobial and continuously kills viruses.

Harnessing copper’s powerful properties, a group of Vanderbilt University seniors is making copper phone cases that kill harmful germs. The copper case has a copper alloy surface, which the students found in their research is proven to provide long-lasting antibacterial activity and inhibit the buildup of disease-causing bacteria.

Rio Tinto Kennecott is a leading producer of copper in the U.S. Kennecott produces enough copper each year to meet nearly 15 percent of U.S. demand, including recycling efforts that compliment ore production at the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah.

Not only are the antimicrobial properties of the copper that is mined by Rio Tinto capable of supporting efforts to fight COVID, the company is directly providing economic support to local community efforts to fight COVID-19. Rio Tinto is investing $10 million in a variety of grassroots projects from delivering critical equipment for people working in hospitals to providing practical support to communities and families across Canada and the United States.