Mine access road opens

Months ahead of schedule, Rio Tinto Kennecott reopened its main ‘highway,’ called the mine access road, within the Bingham Canyon Mine.

Its width is greater than the 12 lanes of I-15, and it winds nearly three quarters of a mile within the mine joining the top to the bottom.

Destroyed in the 165-million-ton April landslide, its restoration was a priority for everyone at Kennecott.

“This road is the lifeblood of our mine operation,” said Matt Lengerich, Bingham Canyon Mine manager. “It is how we transport equipment to different areas within the mine and run the haul trucks that move ore and non-ore-bearing rock from the bottom to the top of the mine.”

Compelling construction facts:

  • Nearly 6 million tons of material moved during construction of the road.
  • More than 1,900 vertical feet of material cleared. This amount of vertical feet is taller than three Space Needles stack one of top of each other.
  • The new mine access road cuts horizontally across the slide area.
  • Employees developed new queuing patterns for the haul trucks to lessen driving time that enabled drivers to work on tasks including benches within the mine.
  • Safety remained the highest priority across the operation.

The mine access road opening is the latest accomplishment to be achieved in less than seven months since April’s slide. It, along with the many other milestones accomplished by Kennecott’s employees, exemplifies Henry Ford’s definition of teamwork:

o   Coming together is a beginning.

o   Keeping together is progress.

o   Working together is success.

What’s next for Rio Tinto Kennecott? A collective, continued focus on working toward business recovery. It is anticipated that it will be 2016 before the mine is back to normal operation.