Sunday, August 24, 2008

Copper Mine

On Saturday we went with Grandma Jan and Don and Eliott's family to the Kennecott Copper Mine in Bingham Canyon. Weston is a direct descendant of Erastus Bingham (Great, great, great, great, great Grandfather) who was one of the original settlers (1840's) of the area and for whom the canyon is named (actually Grandma Jan told me that it was named after his wife because of her bravery in an encounter with some indians). Erastus' son Sanford was involved in some mining in the area but eventually abandoned the idea for other pursuits. The Bingham Canyon open pit copper mine was officially started in 1906.

All my life I have casually noticed to the West the huge orange and grey mountains of ore and I knew the mine was there - but I had never been for a visit. Well it was about time! I thought the entire experience was absolutely fascinating! I had no idea such an enormous operation was going on. The kids were equally amazed and thrilled that their ancestors played such a key role in the settling of the area.
Here is the familiar view of the mine from afar.

Getting closer

The mine is so large that it can be seen from space.

This tire belongs to one of the huge trucks that haul the ore out of the mine. Each tire costs $18,000 - $26,000 and lasts only 9 months.

This truck is one of hundreds that travel about 10,000 miles each day driving in and out of the mine. These trucks are 23 feet high and weigh more than a jumbo jet. They can carry about 300 tons of rock!

Can you see the line of trucks driving out of the mine? Each one is loaded with about 300 tons of waste ore that they will dump outside of the pit.

Here they come back for more.

We could have watched this for hours and if we would have stuck around long enough we would have been there during a blast (ignite buried explosives in the ground).
The visitors center has some really neat exhibits and there is a short video about the mine and what services the Kennecott Corporation provides to the state. There is also a small gift shop which was fun for the kids.

This was a great activity for the entire family! If you haven't been - I highly recommend it. The Visitors Center and overlook close October 31 until the Spring. This is something I could definitely do again.


Jme said...

I haven't been out there for years, and it was actually on our list of things to do this year. But we haven't made it yet. Hannah and Brad went last year. Anyway, what a cool outing...and next time you're out that way, come see me at work!

Anna said...

I flew over the mine and I was completely shocked at just how huge it is!! I'll have to take my family out there.

Nellie said...

Ok, we (Chris, actually) are related to Weston. Erastus Bingham is Chris'Great(X4?) Grandfather, too. Did we already know this? His Grandma Bingham still lives in Provo and we have TONS of Bingham geneology books.

Cool to see the mine -- I have often felt we should visit there, too, but it is too hard to fit it in when we are only in Utah for such a short time. (WHEN we even get there!)

Julie said...

Fascinating! Loved the photos and the info. Again, you do know how to plan the perfect field trip.