Operations return to normal at Bingham Canyon Mine

April 7, 2016

Operations at Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine returned to normal on Wednesday afternoon, following a shut down in the lower part of the mine the day before after motion at the mine was detected.

Sensors had picked up ground movement in the southwest corner of the openpit mine Tuesday morning, said company spokesman Kyle Bennett, prompting a precautionary shut down in that area, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"We saw dilation, an expansion within the wall, yesterday morning through our monitoring systems," Bennett said.

But after monitoring the situation overnight, Bennett said, "We re-opened our haul road today at approximately 8:30 a.m., and it is business as usual."

Bennett noted that movement is "infrequent, but not uncommon" in openpit mines. At the Bingham Canyon Mine, the southwest corner is more prone to movement at this time of year, as the winter snows begin to melt, he added.

A massive landslide rocked the century-old mine on April 10, 2013, when more than 165 million tons of earth tumbled from the northeastern section and sloughed to the mine floor, six-tenths of a mile down. The landslide was so big, it triggered 16 small earthquakes, according to a study by University of Utah scientists.

At the time, landslide experts said the avalanche had all the signs of being North America's biggest one to date, not counting slides that happened before records were kept or those tied to volcanoes.
 

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