Benefits and technology trends in mining automation
Mining Engineering, 2014, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 27-27
More than 150 Mt (165 million st) of material crashed down at the Bingham Canyon Mine (Rio Tinto/Kennecott Utah Copper) near Salt Lake City, UT on April 10, 2013. The mine, one of the largest openpit mines in the world, ceased operations and evacuated personnel prior to the slide when it was discovered that material was moving at a rate of 5 cm/d (2 in./day). The slide destroyed the mine’s visitor’s center, buried several pieces of large mining equipment and severely hampered production.
The Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. immediately began to assess the damage and look for options to reestablish operations. The highly unstable ground — emphasized by another minor slide in September 2013 —makes any cleanup efforts extremely dangerous. With terrain too dangerous for human operators, Kennecott was forced to look for alternatives that would help the company work on the treacherous slopes of the landslide while also keeping personnel safe.
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