Our History

Formation of Utah Copper Company

Utah Copper Company was incorporated on June 4, 1903. The mine was created to process low-grade copper ore found in Bingham Canyon, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Most experts of that day said the company would never make money: the ore grade was too low, only 39 pounds of copper per ton of ore. Steam shovels began working on the mountain in 1906 and mining has continued for the next 100 years.

Kennecott Copper Corporation incorporated

On April 29, Kennecott Copper Corporation was incorporated as a holding company for all the Guggenheim-affiliated copper properties throughout the world.

Copper Corporation acquires interest

In December, Kennecott Copper Corporation acquired a total of 25 percent interest of Utah Copper Corporation, and over the next eight years, raised its holding to 77 percent.

Kennecott Copper Corporation acquires Utah Copper Company

In 1936, Kennecott completed the purchase of 100 percent of the Utah Copper Company. The year before, it purchased American Electrical Works and renamed it Kennecott Wire and Cable.

Utah Copper Company dissolved

Utah Copper Company was dissolved in 1946 and became the Utah Copper division (UCD) of Kennecott Copper Corporation in 1947.

Kennecott Corporation merges into Standard Oil of Ohio

On June 4, 1981, the Standard Oil Company of Ohio (Sohio) affected a friendly takeover of Kennecott. The new parent company then dissolved Kennecott’s corporate structure and absorbed Carborundum, QIT, Chase Brass and KMC separately into the Sohio organization. The English oil company British Petroleum (BP) owned 53 percent of Sohio at the time of the Kennecott takeover.

British Petroleum sells assets and facilities to RTZ Corporation

The ownership of Kennecott changed once more in 1989, when BP agreed to sell most of its worldwide minerals business to the RTZ Corporation (Rio Tinto Zinc), one of the world’s largest mining endeavors. RTZ Corporation formed a new Kennecott, known as Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, to operate the Bingham Canyon Mine and other facilities in the Salt Lake Valley.

Manefay slide

In April 2013, the Bingham Canyon Mine experienced the largest mine slide event in history. Through advanced monitoring and planning, no employees were injured.


Rio Tinto Kennecott sells undeveloped land and associated assets in the Daybreak community to Varde Partners.

Alternative View Project

Alternative View construction project begins on the outer face of the Bingham Canyon Mine to enhance the aesthetics of areas visible from the Salt Lake Valley and provide mine-life extension. This project will also improve the performance of stormwater management by constructing and enhancing groundwater infrastructure.

Department of Energy Partnership

Rio Tinto Kennecott partners with the Department of Energy’s Critical Minerals Institute for recovery of critical minerals and metals. The partnership set out to ensure the U.S. leverages domestic mineral and metal resources required for global leadership in clean power manufacturing by combining Kennecott’s operational expertise and CMI’s research capabilities.