Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

The Bingham Canyon Copper Mine

Some of the things copper is used in

Some of the things copper is used in

Some of the things copper is used in

Copper Ore

Copper Ore

Copper Ore

Copper Ore

The bottom of the Open Pit Mine

Tire for the trucks used to haul the ore


The Bingham Canyon Mine just west of Salt Lake City is one of the largest open pit mines in the world and has produced more than 18 million tons of copper (more than any mine in history) plus over 18 million troy ounces of gold and 157 million troy ounces of silver. It is 2 3/4 miles across at the top and 3/4 of a mile deep. You could stack two Sears Towers (each 1454 ft tall) inside the mine and they still wouldn't reach the top. The mine was discovered in 1863 and has been in operation since that time. It is so big it can be seen by the space shuttle astronauts as they pass over the United States. In 1966 the mine was designated as a National Historical Landmark. By 2015, the mine will be more than 500 feet deeper than it is now. If you stretched out all the roads in the mine...some 500 miles of roadway, the road would reach from Salt Lake City to Denver. There are 11 giant shovels and one hydraulic shovel currently operating in the mine. The largest shovel has a 56-cubic-yard dipper that scoops up approximately 98 tons of material in a single bite, a weight equivalent to about 50 cars! There are 70 gigantic trucks that can carry between 250 and 320 tons of material in a single trip and can only travel a speed of 13 miles per hour. Their tires weigh over 10,000 pounds each, last for one year and cost $25,000 to replace. There are 6 tires on each truck...can you imagine paying that bill! They stand over 12 feet tall and are over 4 feet wide. Can you pick out the trucks in the mine? They look like little ants in an anthill. By looking at the pictures can you name 10 things that contain copper that we use every day? Can you guess how many pounds of copper you use each year? Every American uses about 30 pounds per year and it's easy to see how when you look at the pictures and see how many of the things we use have copper in them. Did you know that for the first time in history, all the metals used to make the medals for the 2002 WINTER OLYMPICS in Salt Lake City all came from the Bingham Canyon Mine. Can you name the 3 metals? Gold, Silver and Bronze (which is made from copper and tin).Some other fun facts about copper: The Statue of Liberty contains 179,000 pounds of copper and has been around for 124 years! To make all the pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters in 1999, the U.S. Mint used about 36,000 tons of copper and it took the mine only 41 days to produce. The typical new home contains about 500 pounds of copper...found mostly in wiring, plumbing and brass fixtures. The copper we sent you is in its natural state (but has been shined)and one of the four ways it is found in the mine. I have included pictures of the four different rock formations that contain copper ore. Copper is the oldest metal known to man and is over 10,000 years old.



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