Most of the solid minerals are mined in an open-cut way - with the help of open pits. Some of them are impressive in size, can reach several kilometers in diameter and go hundreds of meters deep. Among them is Bingham Canyon, which is the deepest man-made formation in the world.
Bingham Canyon, located near the American city of Salt Lake City in Utah, is not accidentally considered the deepest quarry. It goes 1, 2 km deep, and its diameter exceeds 4 km.
Bingham Canyon history
The presence of fossils on the territory of Bingham Canyon was first discovered in 1850, but the entire industrial potential of this quarry was only estimated 14 years later. Due to the difficult terrain, mining in this area was carried out very slowly. However, with the construction of a railway for this career in 1873, the scale of production was significantly increased. And 23 years later, the quarry became the property of the Consolidated Mining Company, which was founded in 1898 by Thomas Weir and Samuel Newhouse. The amount of mined copper in the Bingen Canyon has been increased several times.
Since 1903, this field has been even more developed. Enos Wall and Daniel Jacklin formed the Utah Copper Company and built an onsite processing facility that allowed the mining industry to take a huge step forward. 20 years later, more than 15 thousand people of different nationalities lived and worked on the territory of Bingham Canyon, however, with the development of technology, their number was rapidly decreasing, while copper production increased every year.
After the oil crisis in 1973, the world's largest mine was acquired by the well-known British company British Petroleum. After some time, it was sold to the British holding Rio Tinto - the current owner of the Bingham Canyon field.
Environmentalists have been pushing for decades to end work in Bingham Canyon because of its environmental impact.
Current state of Bingham Canyon
Today, the world's largest quarry is listed on the US National Historic Landmarks Register. The field employs almost 1,500 people, and about 450 thousand tons of rock are extracted every day. Among the ore minerals of this quarry, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, bornite, citite predominate; there are also rare metals palladium, gold, galena and argentite.
The latest estimate is that Bingham Canyon has identified and inferred copper ore reserves of 637 million tonnes.
In 2013, Bingham Canyon experienced the most powerful landslide in modern history, which destroyed production buildings and part of the equipment, but all workers were evacuated. As a result of the collapse, an earthquake of magnitude 5 occurred. Just by this time, the owners planned to completely stop mining copper ore, since the expansion of production required too large financial costs.