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Kennecott Mine to resume underground mining for the first time in over a century

Construction vehicles of multiple colors outside of a mineshaft
Photo by Rio Tinto

For the first time in over 100 years, Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Copper Mine is reviving its underground mining operation.

Also known as the Bingham Canyon Mine, officials announced on Tuesday that crews will begin extracting copper from the “Lower Commercial Skarn” deposit. Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions will supply an electric battery-powered loader and haul truck that will be tested for future operations.

According to Nate Foster, interim managing director for the Kennecott mine, it began as an underground mine 119 years ago before transitioning into an open-pit mine. Underground mining hasn’t taken place in Bingham Canyon in over 100 years but now that’s about to change.

Rio Tinto’s announcement also announced that a feasibility study focused on expanding the underground’s infrastructure will be finished early next year.

The newly revitalized Kennecott Mine is expected to have ore produced by early 2023.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.