Historic Cleanup

Prior to Rio Tinto’s purchase of Kennecott in 1989, predecessors mined and smelted in the Oquirrh Mountains leaving behind wastes. Most of the companies that produced the wastes have long been out of business. We now own almost all of the historic mine properties along the Oquirrh Mountain Range where our predecessors deposited these wastes.

Consequently, cleanup work has been a constant activity for us since the early 1990s. To date, we have spent more than $700 million to clean up historic mining wastes and install pollution source control measures. The cleanup efforts resulted in approximately 26 million tons (16.25 million cubic yards) of mining wastes being isolated, excavated, relocated, disposed of and/or permanently stabilized in place.

We have excavated 10 million tons (6.25 million cubic yards) of clean materials to support the cleanup work. Additionally, we have restored, reclaimed or re-vegetated more than 11,000 acres of land, including approximately 1,000 acres of new wildlife habitat or open space. We have planted more than 120,000 trees, as well as several thousand acres of shrubs, forbs and grasses.

Notably, our cleanups have met or exceeded regulatory requirements and we believe, fulfilled community expectations. We performed this work in coordination with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), as well as with review by other interested parties. (For more information, please see our 2008 reclamation report).

The Daybreak development is example of how successful remediation efforts on land previously used for mining purposes can lead to new beneficial uses. We built the Daybreak community development where miners once used the South Jordan Evaporation Ponds. The new, mixed-use community encompasses 4,126 acres with entitlement for 20,000 residential units. Today, the Daybreak community is living proof of a sound, sustainable vision integrated with innovative mine-land remediation.