About 100 workers evacuated from Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon Mine
An estimated 100 employees and contractors were evacuated from Rio Tinto’s (LON, ASX: RIO) Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah, US, on Wednesday evening after the site was affected for a small landslide, the second this year in the same area.
Mine operator Kennecott Utah Copper said removing employees from the mine’s lower pit and halting operations for the night were only precautionary measures. The company added this time the slide wouldn’t affect production, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.
An excavator operator spotted the material shift —about 120 cm— and raised the alarm, while monitoring equipment registered the activity.
The copper mine was affected by a major land slide in April after a pit-wall collapse inside Bingham Canyon, considered by some experts to be North America’s largest human-cause slide in history.
Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper unit, located in the Bingham Canyon operation, in southwest Salt Lake County, has been producing copper and other minerals since 1906.
At six-tenths of a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide, Bingham Canyon is one of the world’s largest existing open-pit mining operations. It produced about 163,000 metric tons of refined metal in 2012 plus 279,000 ounces of gold and 9,400 tons of molybdenum.
But due to the earlier landslide Kennecott estimates its 2013 production will drop by half.
Image tweeted by Rio Tinto showing the material shift.