Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine


The Kennecott Copper Mine is one of only two engineering landmarks visible from space (the other is the Great Wall of China). The open-pit copper mine is the largest manmade excavation on Earth, with more than 5.3 billion tons of material removed from the area, including two former towns. The mine is two miles wide and a half-mile deep. From the overlook, visitors can watch 240- and 320-ton capacity trucks deliver copper ore to the in-pit crusher, where the material is reduced to the size of soccer balls. It is then loaded onto a 5-mi.-long conveyor that carries the ore to the Copperton Concentrator, where processing begins.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil, Environmental
Topic(s):Technology/Materials
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Copper was probably mined in the Tigris-Euphrates valley as long ago as the 5th century B.C., making it one of the first metals known to man. It derives its name from the island of Cyprus, which was the primary source of copper in ancient times. Today, the U.S. is the world's chief producer of copper.