DAYBREAK, Utah – Officials at Kennecott Copper Mine say they are in the process of cleaning up the historic side of the mine that faces the Salt Lake Valley.
They’re hoping to re-vegetate it and revitalize the mountain to bring it back to its original state.
Construction has started in the lower outer face of the Bingham Mine.
“It will significantly improve our ability to handle waste water run-off and it’s also going to decrease erosion, which you’ve seen on some of the historic piles, so from the aesthetics and the performance perspective, I think the public’s going to see something that’s significantly improved,” said Kyle Bennett, spokesman for the mine.
The improvements to Bingham Mine is an answer to concerns residents have voiced for years about the appearance of the mine and its impact on the environment, officials say.
“This is one way that we’re able to respond to the requests of the community to reclaim this historic waste rock pile,” Bennett said.
After the landslide in 2013, workers at Kennecott say the re-vegetation of the rock piles will also help prevent future landslides.
“It becomes a continuous drainage system that will ensure that we don’t allow any water to get off the property whether that be subterranean water or whether that be storm water,” said Michael Piercy, general manager of construction.
They’ll be digging up the soil and planting natural mountain vegetation on the hill.
“So, what the community will ultimately see is a mountain come back to life,” Piercy said. “So it will have natural grasses and that type of growth on it.”
Residents in the area say they’re looking forward to the improvements.
“I think it’s great,” said resident Amanda Griggs. “Anything to make it more discreet for the community will be awesome.”
The re-vegetation of the visible portion of the mine should be finished by the year 2020.