Kennecott copper mine reopens to the public

BINGHAM CANYON, Utah — For the first time in six years, the public can get an up-close look at the Rio Tinto Kennecott Bingham Canyon Mine.

It comes after a massive landslide closed the visitors center in 2013.

On a rainy Friday morning, Stryker Scott’s father showed him the Bingham Canyon Mine.

"Those trucks are so big, it looks like they need stairs,” said five-year-old Stryker.

At three-quarters of a mile deep, it is the largest open-pit copper mine in North America.

“There is a big hole in the ground,” Stryker yelled.

The mine’s bottom was all but covered over during a massive landslide in April 2013. The mine was closed to the public until this month.

“I think it’s a really cool thing to have in your backyard,” said Stryker’s father Dan Scott.

The $3 million visitors’ experience includes an outdoor haul truck bed, engine and shovel visitors can walk inside.

“I really, really love that shovel dipper,” said Piper Rhodes, the engineer who designed the visitors’ experience.

Rhodes and her team spent two years developing the project.

“We knew this was going to be a different experience. We didn’t want people to be disappointed that they weren’t having the same experience they had with our previous visitors’ center. We knew we had to do something different. I think having the equipment on site really makes that a cool experience,” Rhodes said.

The experience requires visitors to reserve tickets online in advance, park below the mine and ride Kennecott shuttles, which are ADA compliant, to the mine overlook.

Tickets are $5 each and children under the age of five are free. Admissions will be donated to the Bingham Canyon Mine Foundation to support local charities.

Parking is located at 12732 Bacchus Highway, Harriman, UT 84096 and the visitors' center is open seven days a week from April 1 to October 31.

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