Kennecott Utah Copper (KUC) announced that Rio Tinto, its parent company, will invest $340 million in the construction of a new molybdenum autoclave process (MAP) facility in Magna, Utah. The new facility will allow lower-grade molybdenum concentrate to be processed more efficiently, allow improved molybdenum recovery and operating flexibility, and enable production of metallurgical and higher chemical-grade molybdenum products. First production is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012 with full production of 30 million pounds/year scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Construction of phase two, which will bring total production capacity to 60 million pounds/year, is anticipated for completion in the first quarter of 2015. Molybdenum is used in metal alloys (including steel) to enhance toughness, high-temperature strength and corrosion resistance. KUC produces approximately 30 million pounds of molybdenum each year. According to KUC, the outlook for molybdenum demand is very strong due to the urbanization and industrialization of China and India.