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.