Kennecott Copper Mine

I’ve lived in Utah most of my life and had always wanted to check out the Kennecott Copper Mine but had never managed to make the trip. Last week I had some vendors in town from Boston so we took the opportunity to finally go and see the mine.

The visitor’s center had a number of displays and educational info about mining in Bingham Canyon and also had a movie with propaganda information on the mine and how amazing the various Kennecott reclamation projects are.

The mine itself is truly amazing in its scope and scale but I left there having very mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mine has produced massive amounts of copper and other materials and has provided jobs and the vital raw materials of industry for many years. On the other hand, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling of how brutal on the earth the mining process was and how the analogy of “raping the land” is actually quite apt.

Trying to undo the effects of the mine and reclaim it would be like trying to put a chicken back into a hatched egg – it isn’t going to happen. In that respect, I say “keep on mining”. However, humans ought not to take lightly our stewardship over the earth and in that respect I think one mine of this type is probably enough and man ought to find a better way to extract the needed resources in the future.

3 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Everyone likes to point and complain about mining, as they use everything that mining provides. The fact is everything we enjoy is a product of mining. Houses, food, cars, bicycles, ect. ect. ect.

  2. BYUFan says:

    Lynn,

    I agree that everything we enjoy is a product of mining. I’m certainly not anti-mining. As I previously stated: “On the one hand, the mine has produced massive amounts of copper and other materials and has provided jobs and the vital raw materials of industry for many years.” That being said, mining does have negative consequences on the environment that can’t be ignored. Also, I’m not saying that Kennecott is ignoring those consequences. Kennecott is indeed working on reclamation projects but reclamation only goes so far. I believe the decision to engage in the massive type of open pit mining ala the Kennecott mine is one that society shouldn’t take lightly and I think society should be cautious about creating a similar mine anywhere else.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    BYUFan

  3. Timberwolf says:

    Our creator put natural resources here for the benefit of man, yes it is true that the large excavation that is now the kennecott pit is an eysore to some people, but to those that it has provided jobs for the last 90 years it is a thing of beauty. The United states needs heavy industry and we are dismantaling whats left of it at a furious pace, allowing other nations such as China to fill the void, one need only look at the now defunct Geneva Steel who’s brand new state of the art steel smelter was boxed and crated and sent to China for pennys on the dollar, where it now operates sending steel back to us at a profit to the Chinese.

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