Jun 4, 2007

The World's Largest Openpit Mine: Bingham Canyon Mine

Kennecott Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine - the world's largest openpit mine or to say the world's largest man-made structure. "This open faced mine is the largest man-made excavation on earth, stretching two-and-a-half miles wide and 3,960 feet deep. What was a mountain has been mined away to form this huge openpit. It was an interesting place, apparently the largest openpit mine in the world where they have essentially turned a mountain inside out by moving over 6 billion tons of rock and ore since its working began in 1906. It continues to grow with 500,000 tons of material being hauled out each day. Engineers estimate the hole will continue to grow another 650 feet deeper, at which point it will not be financially viable to continue mining."

The mountain peak you see at the end of Bingham canyon in the picture above taken approximately in the early 1920s.

"The trucks typically carry about 300 tons of rock per trip. Interestingly, the tires on these things run anywhere from $18,000 to $26,000 and last only nine months. "

Bingham Mine 1981

Bingham Mine 1998

"Since 1906, the mine has produced approximately 17 million tons of copper, making it the most productive copper mine in history. The mine also has produced about 23 million ounces of gold, 190 million ounces of silver, and 890 million pounds of molybdenum, and it also produces about a million tons of sulfuric acid every year."

Kennecott maintains a visitor center and mine overlook above the mine, at 6700 ft. elevation. Open daily from 8AM to 8PM, April 1 to October 31. The mine is about a half-hour drive from Salt Lake City. "One of their claims to fame is that they are one of two man made structures easily visible from space (The Great Wall being the other)."

1999 Aerial View of the openpit.

Satellite images

Topo Map

Map sources
Latitude: 40° 31' 19.66? N 40.522127°
Longitude: 112° 9' 3.07? W -112.150851°
& a scale of approximately 1 : 10000.

View in Google map

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7

Other Posts:
Underwater Sculptures
Definitely Women Drivers

Related Post: The World's Biggest Hole

Sharing is caring