Kennecott Copper Mine, Salt Lake City, UT – June 2011

I asked my students what was being mined and they told me I had to go check out the Kennecott Copper Mine which has a Visitors Center.
Just before the turn-off for the main gate, I spotted deer.
And she had a baby with her!
There was a $5 per car entrance fee and then a mile drive up the hill.

You park your car and walk over to the railed-edge to take in the view: 
There were several signs, “Mining the ore, using huge electric shovels and king-size haulage trucks is just the first step in the production of cooper. The metal-bearing ore, which contains less than one percent copper, is delivered to the In-Pit Crusher located below you and to the left. Ore is crushed to about the size of soccer balls. The rock is loaded onto a conveyor that travels three miles through a tunnel in the mountain beneath you, and then two miles above ground to the Copperton Concentrator.”
The red truck is a large Ford F-250 which looks like a toy next to the ore trucks:
They run water trucks up and down to keep the dust in check.

“Smelting – The 28 percent copper concentrate is heated to a molten state and additional impurities (primarily iron and sulfur) are removed in a revolutionary flash smelting and converting process. The molten copper, 99.5 percent pure, is poured into forms called “anodes” then coiled and shipped to the nearby Electrolytic Refinery.”

“Refining – Anodes are subjected to an electrolytic process where the copper is refined to a purity of 99.99 percent. During this process, precious metals such as gold and silver are also recovered as by-products. The finished copper “cathodes” are then shipped to manufacturers that produce a broad range of industrial, aviation, military and construction products, as well as other copper, brass and bronze consumer products we all use everyday.”
In 1906, This Was a Mountain – The original Utah Copper Company was formed in 1903, and the first steam shovels came to Bringham Canyon and began stripping waste rock from the sides of a mountain to reack deposits of low-grade ore. That was the beginning of what has become the largest man-made excavation on earth…the hugh open-pit mine you see before you. Today, the mine is three-quarters of a mile deep and stretches two-and-a-half-mile from the widest points at the top of the pit. In the early 1900s, there were dozens of small underground gold, silver and lead mining operations in this area that surrounded the towns of Bingham Canyon, which wer home to nearly 20,000 people from Southern and Eastern Europe and the Orient, who came to this country to join American-born miners to bwgin new lives working in the mines. This man-made object can be seen by astronauts from outer space.
“To bring ore to the surface from early underground mines. Buckets such as this were used. Miner would often ride up the shafts along with the ore.”
"Rocker Shovel Loader – Invented in 1938, this machine was called 'The first successful device to replace human labor' in narrow, confined tunnels in underground hard-rock mines. Operating by compressed air, the bucket scooped up the ore and waste rock that resulted from blasting. The bucket was lifted overhead and dumped the material into a mine rail car, which hauled the rock from the mine. About 29,000 of these machines, manufactured by EIMCO in Salt Lake City, were sold throughout the world."
Tinky Winky goes rock climbing:
“Small rail cars like this were used to haul ore through tunnels from Bingham Canyon’s underground mines in the late 1800s and early 1900s.” 
“The Town of Bingham Canyon – This site donated by Jack Tallas, Bingham Businessman – The History of the town began in August 1848 when two young Mormon pioneers, Sanford and Thomas Bingham, settled in this narrow wilderness canyon to herd cattle. Within a few years the area became a supplier of timber for local sawmills. Much of the timber used in the construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle came from this canyon.”
“In 1850 the Bingham brothers took samples of assayed ore to Brigham Young, who advised them not to engage in mining at that time. Following the discovery of silver and gold containing ore in the fall of 1863, the West Mountain Mining District. Embracing the entire Oquirrh range, was organized.”
“In 1868 fewer than one hundred people lived in Bingham Canyon; by 1880 the town had crown to a population of 1.022. About 1893 Colonel Enos A. Wall located ground containing millions of pounds of copper." 
The current mine has a very low injury rate, which they attribute to their T.R.A.C.K. policy: Think through the task; Recognize the hazard; Assess the risks; Control the hazards; Keep safety first in all tasks.
Tinky Winky plays hide-n-seek.
Driving to & from the visitors center there are signs stating no stopping is allowed.
With no traffic, I was able to drive slow and grab some shots out the window.
"The Utah Copper Company began large scale mining operations in 1904. The town was incorporated as a city on February 29, 1904. Involved in its history were people of may nations: Greeks, Italians, Armenian, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, British, and Austrians.”

“The Prosperous Bingham Mine led the nation in the production of copper but the prosperity which built the town also hastened its death. The land where the town was located is now a part of the Kennecott Copper open pit mine."  "The 1970 census indicated that the population of Bingham Canyon, once a roaring mining town of 15,000, had dwindled to thirty-one people. On November 22, 1971, a special proposition to dis-incorporate the town was passed. After 123 years, Bingham Canyon was dead.”

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