August Partner Meeting

This month’s partner meeting we were joined by Harry Hansen, the Communications Director at the Utah Office of Energy Development, and Jenny Esker-Evans and Kaci Jenkins from Rio Tinto Kennecott Copper to discuss the Tellurium production here in Utah.

Harry started us off by updating the partners on the Office of Energy Development. A year’s long effort with twenty counties, three open houses and online comments, ten targeted stakeholders and policy and technical committees has developed into the statewide energy plan. There is a specific focus on energy diversification. Utah is committed to an “any and above” energy future, supporting efforts and policies that provide a variety of tools and resources that citizens, communities, businesses, and industries can choose form to deliver or obtain affordable, reliable energy. Utah is committed to supporting rural communities through economic development and diversification efforts, infrastructure, investment and workforce training and development. Utah is committed to supporting a clean energy future through a strong and responsible mining program for critical minerals; investment in emerging technology such as hydrogen, storage and energy efficiency; and air quality research and incentive programs. Utah is committed to collaboration with it’s local, regional, and federal partners to pursue infrastructure, innovation projects such as EV charging transmission. The plan can be found here: www.energy.utah.gov/plan/.

Next, Jenny and Kaci presented on the tellurium project that Rio Tinto Kennecott is leading out. Tellurium is used to make cell phone cells and other electrical components for solar panels as well, but it is one of the least common elements on earth. It has both metal and nonmetal elements to it. Rio Tinto Kennecott first started to mine Tellurium In the 1990’s but due to inefficient systems the operation was halted. The current system uses agitating tanks to heat the copper chips to 190 degrees then cooled to 140 degrees. After it is cooled, the sample is sent to the heater press to remove the tellurium from the plates. Rio Tinto Kennecott hopes to produce ten to twenty tons of copper telluride per year. If you are interested in learning more about the project please visit Rio Tinto Kennecott’s website here: https://www.riotinto.com/news/releases/2022/Rio-Tinto-starts-tellurium-production-at-Kennecott.

We then held the partners roundtable –

Shawn Teigen, Utah Foundation: Utah Foundation has released a report on building codes, and I will drop the link in the chat and please reach out to me if you have any questions on that.

Nick Hammer, Direct Air Capture Coalition: I’m new to the community and wanted to get involved with other air advocates and groups.

Kevin Emerson, Utah Clean Energy: We are hosting our fall party on September 8, 2022. We would love to see there at the mid-valley arts center on that Thursday. This is also our 20-year anniversary.

Blair Blackwell, Chevron: This is my last UCAIR partner meeting. I’m heading back with Chevron to Kazakhstan. Christina Brown will be stepping into my shoes. 

Closing remarks – Kim Frost: The UCAIR Gas Can Exchange is this Saturday, August 20, 2022, at the Salt Lake County Environmental Health Department, starts at 8:00AM. There is a maximum to 2 gas cans per person and the gas can has to be empty to exchange. Finally, next month September 15, 2022, is our next partner meeting and we will be in person!