The morning after a small slide forced evacuations at Bingham Canyon Mine, crews were working Thursday to clean up and determine exactly what happened.
The slide was detected about 6 p.m. Wednesday and moved a football field-sized portion of dirt four or five feet, according to Rio Tinto-Kennecott spokesman Justin Jones. About 100 workers evacuated Wednesday. Jones said 50 of those workers returned to their normal duties Thursday morning while the other 50 were assigned to other tasks.
"Work has been restored except for the lower portion of the pit," Jones added.
Jones said there was no additional movement overnight Wednesday and authorities did not expect additional slides Thursday. Geotechnical experts were on scene Thursday to assess the situation and determine what caused the slide. Jones did not know if it was triggered by rain or other weather conditions, which have been particularly wet in recent days.
The slide happened in an area where crews have been "remediating," or doing repair and stabilization work, after a massive slide in April. That slide sent about 165 million tons of material tumbling into the mine and forced closures, reductions in production, leadership shake ups and even a drop in county sales tax revenue.
Jones said the mine has protocols in place for slides and was well-prepared for Wednesday's incident, which was small compared to the April slide. No workers were injured.