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Small slide forces evacuation at Kennecott mine

Published September 12, 2013 7:47 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

About 100 workers were evacuated from the Bingham Canyon Mine after a landslide Wednesday.

Kennecott Utah Copper spokesman Kyle Bennett described the "material movement" as "relatively small." The slide was about the width of a football field and slid "a short distance," Bennett said — but he did not know how many yards the material moved. The movement occurred in the upper portion of the massive landslide that sent about 165 million tons of material moving on April 10, forcing the copper pit to close temporarily.

"We have been remediating ... to stabilize areas we had some concern about," Bennett said. Wednesday's slide was in one of those areas, he said.

A heavy equipment operator saw the movement about 6 p.m. and the mine's monitoring systems also detected it, Bennett said.

About 75 workers were evacuated from the lower portion of the pit and 25 more were moved from an administrative area as a precaution.

"We are seeing no additional movement at this moment," Bennett said. Crews planned to monitor the area overnight and continue investigations with daylight Thursday.

"It's part of culture, when we see any type of movement, to take it very seriously," Bennett said. "We're proud nobody was hurt."