Kennecott honors employees for cleanup of largest landslide in mining history

SOUTH JORDAN (ABC 4 Utah) - It was only a year ago that the largest mining landslide was recorded. It happened at the Bingham Copper Mine.

Geologist used state of the art monitoring equipment to detect land slides in the copper mine that is two thirds of a mile deep.

“We knew it was going to be a slide but we didn't have any idea that it was going to be like that,” said Mike Combs a road and dumps operator.

“Being able to hear them tell us every single day that it is moving at this rate or what ever,” said Jason Hill a hall truck operator. “It was really amazing to be apart of.”

Mother Nature would ultimately decide to move 165 million tons of dirt and rock. The massive pile would swallow heavy machinery, halting mining efforts.

“I thought we was all out of work. It was incredible,” said mechanic Cy Ferguson.

“It was an experience that I could never forget and at I would never like to repeat,” said Elaina Ware the operations manager.

“The stuff that was buried really wasn’t in our way at the time. And once we got rolling and got the first ore on to the concentrator we were able to start digging equipment out.” Ferguson added.

Twenty foot high dump trucks were reduced to replacement parts.

“All trucks washed up like toys in a bath tub. It is something you never could think could happen in just the reality in front of you. The Bingham shop hanging off to the side, the all road you graded a hundred times gone,” said Combs

One of the major accomplishments was completing the main access road seven months early so that they could refine copper at a quicker rate.

Miners were able to manufacture ore within 17 days of the slide.

“Everyday was a new set of challenges and all we ever asked is how are we going to do it and do it safe?,” said Ferguson.

It was that consideration for safety that kept nearly 2,400 employees alive.

More Stories

Latest News

Video Center