Kennecott Utah Copper
Bingham Canyon, Utah
June 6, 1970
About 20 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, and just south of the former town of Bingham (by this time swallowed up by the continually expanding pit), is the world's largest man-made hole in the ground, the Bingham Canyon Mine. Owned at the time of these photos by the Kennecott Copper Corporation, it operated its own electric railroad with over 70 electric locomotives, 1000-plus cars and an estimated hundred miles of track located along the interior terraces of the pit. KCC also operated a 16-mile railway from the pit to a KCC-owned smelter and concentrator at Magma, and a smelter at Garfield, near the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. A branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Western also provided service to Copperton, the location of the mine's yards. A close look at the photograph reveals that the black horizontal streaks on the canyon walls were indeed trains, which worked their way down to the nearest of three exit tunnels to deposit their loads at Copperton.
Today owned by the Rio Tinto Group, the pit has expanded allmost to the outskirts of Copperton, where the rail lines to Magma and Garfield now terminate; the tracks in the pit are gone, replaced by conveyor belts and pipelines.
Last updated 3/28/2018. Text and photo ©2018 Lamont Downs.