Progress made in clearing debris out of Kennecott mine

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SOUTH JORDAN -- The Kennecott mine is well on the road to recovery after a massive landslide earlier this year, officials say.

Crews carved through the debris left by the slide and rebuilt the main hauling road.

“It’s a daunting task,” said Matt Lengerich, general manager of the Bingham Canyon mine. “We started that work, we had to talk to our employees about rising to the occasion. They’ve done a tremendous job coming together.”

Approximately 165,000 tons of debris cascaded into the pit of Bingham Canyon mine seven months ago. The path of the slide stretched three-quarters of a mile and swept away the main hauling road.

“This road is absolutely critical to our operations,” Lengerich said. “It really is the life line of the Kennecott Utah copper mine. When we lost it on April 10 we knew it would be a major milestone to re-establish it.”

Although the hauling road has been rebuilt, officials said millions of tons of debris and equipment still sit at the bottom of the mine.

After the slide the mine fell to 50 percent production.

“It’s really critical that we are back up and running as quickly as we can at normal capacity,” said Kyle Bennett, Kennecott spokesman.