Bingham Canyon Mine, Salt Lake City, Utah
Aerial view of the Bingham Canyon Mine, the largest man-made excavation on earth.
The Kennecott Copper Mine is an open-pit mine located in Salt Lake County, Utah, just southwest of West Jordan, at (40°31′N 112°09′W). It is located 28 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. It is easily visible as a large layered multi-color, barren protrusion on the side of the Oquirrh Mountains, which lie on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. It is currently the largest open-pit mine in the world, and the world's largest man-made excavation. The mine is 2½ miles across, and ¾ mile deep.
Kennecott is the second largest copper producer in the United States - providing approximately 15% of the country's copper needs.
Minerals were first discovered in Bingham Canyon in 1850, but exploitation did not begin until 1863. At first, mining was difficult, but a railroad reached the canyon in 1873, prompting massive settlement and extraction of the minerals. By the 1920s, 15,000 people of widely-varying ethnicity had settled in the canyon. Large residential communities were constructed on the steep canyon walls. Natural disasters were a common occurrence in the heavily-settled canyon. The population declined rapidly as mining techniques improved, and several of the mining camps began to be swallowed up by the mine. By 1980, when Lark was dismantled, only Copperton, at the mouth of Bingham Canyon and with a population of 800, remained. Today, mining operations continue at full-swing in the mine, and it is now the largest open-pit mine in the world. Work to expand the mine 600 feet east began in 2005, continuing to increase its size, growth, and capabilities. (Wikipedia)