The Deepest Mine
Bingham Canyon Mine, located near Salt Lake City, is the world's deepest man-made open pit excavation. The mine is 2.75 miles (4,5km) across and 0.75 mile (1,2km) deep. Since mining operations started in 1906, Bingham Canyon Mine has been the granddaddy of all copper mines. When you're talking about the actual size of the mine, Bingham Canyon is simply the largest copper mine in the USA. If the mine was a stadium, it could seat nine million people.
Aerial view Bingham Canyon Mine(Photo by Ren Shore)
Bingham Canyon is primarily a copper mine, but it has also yielded a wide range of byproduct metals. These include 620 tons of gold, 5,000 tons of silver, 276 tons of molybdenum and large amounts of platinum and palladium. The Kennecott mining company extracts daily approximately 450,000 tons of rock out of the mine. With these production statistics, it's no wonder that the Bingham Canyon Mine has been nicknamed "the Richest Hole on Earth." The value of metals produced yearly at Bingham Canyon is US$1.8 billion dollars.
Bingham Canyon Mine (Photo by Timjarrett)
Kennecott has built a visitor’s center dedicated to educating the public about mining practices, sustainable development and the importance of mining in modern life. Visitors get breathtaking views and the opportunity to see giant electric shovels fill 320-ton capacity haul trucks that deliver ore to the in-pit crusher. A video, historic photographs and 3D models are also available inside the visitor's center.
Dump truck getting loaded (Photo by Caterpillar)
The mine is operating 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. Visitors may come from April 1 through October 31, seven days a week. Entrance fees are $5 for passenger vehicles, $25 for mini tour buses and $50 for tour buses. All entrance fees are donated to charity.