"If you're not running, how do you pay for somebody for doing nothing?" he said. "They haven't come out and said that, but we certainly see that with any other industry."
Kennecott won't be making any money while it digs out from the landslide, which could take a long time, Giraud said.
"You have a landslide that deposited a lot of material into the bottom of that copper pit," he said. "The material that it deposited in there is not ore. That has to be removed. There's no profit in any of that."
In addition to financial concerns, Giraud said the company will have to assess the safety risks of resuming mine operations.
"How much risk are they willing to tolerate? Will they tolerate a higher level of risk right now just to try to get it into production and to get some revenue going? A lot of tough questions and it's really too early for a lot of good answers," he said.
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