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Kennecott digging out
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

It has now been more than two months since Rio Tinto Kennecott experienced one of the largest mining slides in history. The extraordinary support we have received from the community, our stakeholders, political leaders and families has been both impressive and greatly appreciated.

Of greatest value to me have been the words of encouragement expressed by so many: hoping for a quick and safe recovery. Many recognize the significant impact Kennecott has on our local economy and the overall benefit that Kennecott provides to the community.

The planning work performed by our employees was exceptional and ensured no one was injured during this historic event. Our systems, designed to detect ground movement, performed as they should have, and our people performed admirably in the face of unprecedented challenges. The safe outcome of the slide and recovery work demonstrates dedication to our core value that every employee goes home without injury.

In the days and weeks following the slide, Kennecott employees demonstrated their resiliency as a team by responding to the slide with conviction and determination. The evidence of this was seen when unaffected areas of the Bingham Canyon Mine returned to mining operations within 53 hours of the slide, and all our other facilities continue to operate.

Today, we continue to make progress in our recovery efforts. We have moved record amounts of material as part of our Cornerstone mine life extension project, and our teams are ensuring that the mine remains a safe place to work every day. Despite the significant progress we are making, our future success is not guaranteed, and we have a big challenge ahead of us. We will continue to face difficult times and unforeseen obstacles as we work to respond to the impacts from the slide.

Despite our near-term challenges, confidence remains high that we will eventually emerge a stronger and more efficient business.

The Bingham Canyon Mine has been providing economic prosperity for 110 years and I look forward to Kennecott's re-emergence as a premier large-scale producer of copper, gold, silver and molybdenum for decades to come.

Kelly Sanders is president and CEO of Rio Tinto Kennecott and lives in South Jordan.

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