Although it struck me as a bit surreal and a bit creepy, the boys loved it. The Visitor Center offers a nice little mini museum and a brief movie discussing the history of the Bingham Canyon Mine and talks about the current day operations. Which are huge. Huge like the PIT.
It is certainly something to see but I will admit to a slight sense of relief as we made our way out of the pit and back to civilization!
Some cool facts about the mine:
- Bingham Canyon has proven to be one of the world's most productive mines. As of 2004, ore from the mine has yielded more than 17 million tons (15.4 Mt) of copper, 23 million ounces (715 t) of gold, 190 million ounces (5,900 t) of silver, and 850 million pounds (386 kt) of molybdenum.
- The value of metals produced in 2006 at Bingham Canyon was US$1.8 billion dollars.
- Employing 1,800 employees and hundreds of contractors, 450,000 tons (408 kt) of material are removed from the mine daily. Electric shovels can carry up to 56 cubic yards (43 m³) or 98 tons (89 t) of ore in a single scoop.
- Today, as the second largest copper producer in the United States, Kennecott Utah Copper provides about 13-18% percent of the U.S.'s copper needs.
- The current mine plan will expire in 2019. Rio Tinto is currently studying a plan to extend the open pit 1,000 feet southward, which would extend the life of the mine into the mid-2030s.