Rio Tinto copper mine in Utah evacuated after slide

Cecilia Jamasmie | April 11, 2013

A wall slide on Wednesday forced Rio Tinto (ASX, LON: RIO) to evacuate employees from its Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah, one of the largest producers of the commodity in the United States, the company said in a statement.

Although there were no victims, the slide may affect the company's full-year copper guidance, as Rio is set to release its first-quarter production report next week.

Only yesterday the miner said it had been closely monitoring ground movement at the mine in anticipation of a slide and had taken steps to reduce the possible affect on production by relocating buildings, roads and heavy machinery.

Rio Tinto's Kennecott Utah Copper unit, located in the Bingham Canyon operation, in southwest Salt Lake County, has been producing copper and other minerals since 1906.

At six-tenths of a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide, Bingham Canyon is one of the world’s largest existing open-pit mining operations. It produced about 163,000 metric tons of refined metal in 2012 plus 279,000 ounces of gold and 9,400 tons of molybdenum.

Fox News 13 photo

Fox 13 News photo shows the effects of the wall slide.

More photos of the slide can be seen here. 


Front page image: Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, Wikimedia Commons