South Jordan, Utah (June 22, 2015) – Construction has started on the lower outer face of the Bingham Canyon Mine that will enhance the aesthetics of areas visible from the Salt Lake Valley and provide optionality for mine-life extension.
The Alternative View Construction Project is occurring on the south and east facing waste rock piles. The long-term improvement in the appearance and performance of the waste rock piles and associated stormwater management systems will be possible by constructing enhanced surface and groundwater infrastructure in advance of placing new material from inside the mine at the base of the outer toe of the existing piles.
The material will be regraded at an angle allowing for revegetation of the surface. In addition, the project will include the construction of new cut-off walls and stormwater basins that will be engineered and constructed to handle a minimum of a 100-year, 24-hour storm event.
Future reclamation of the newly placed material will create long-term benefits by improving the aesthetics of the base of the valley facing waste rock piles, reduce water infiltration and erosion, and improve surface water management. The project also provides optionality for mine-life extension work that could take the operation through 2029 and enable further reclamation of the historic waste rock piles.
“I’m privileged to be a part of this project because of the potential it affords for future reclamation and the optionality it provides to help us extend the life of the mine,” said Kennecott Project Manager Michael Piercy. “The investment in this project underscores the great potential that exists in this operation.”
The work on this project, anticipated to be completed by the end of 2020, is similar to the work conducted everyday inside the Bingham Canyon Mine and is under the same regulatory oversight. A comprehensive fugitive dust control plan is in place that utilizes water trucks, and construction impacts will be minimized as practical.
“This work will be similar to other large-scale construction projects seen across the valley each year,” said Kennecott Environmental Engineer Zeb Kenyon. “While this work will be more visible compared to what we do inside the mine, we are committed to minimizing impacts and maintaining all regulatory compliance.”
Waste rock is the uneconomic material that is moved out of the way – and placed in specifically sited, engineered and permitted facilities – enabling access to metal-bearing ore.
About Rio Tinto Kennecott
As the second largest copper producer in the United States, Rio Tinto Kennecott comprises nearly 25 percent of U.S. copper production. Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the top producing copper mines in the world with production at more than 19 million tons. Rio Tinto purchased Kennecott and related facilities in 1989 and has invested more than $2 billion in modernization since that time. Kennecott has also spent more than $350 million on the cleanup of historic mining waste and $100 million on groundwater cleanup. Rio Tinto employs 2,400 people and influences more than 14,000 indirect Utah jobs. Take a closer look at kennecott.com.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the United Kingdom, combining Rio tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminum, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and Southern Africa. www.riotinto.com