Kennecott Utah Copper is making plans to get the Bingham Canyon mine back in operation after a huge landslide two weeks ago. Company spokesperson Kyle Bennett says they have a 40-day plan to look at containing costs but also keeping the ore moving to the smelting and refining facilities.
“We are going to see a fifty-percent decrease in mined and refined copper this year," Bennett says, "and so our work in the near term, under the 40-day plan, reconstructing those roads, getting supplies down there, it’s going to be about delivering as much new ore through the process as we can get.”
Bennett says the company will make decisions on layoffs after the 40-day evaluation. Right now, employees have been asked to take vacation or leave voluntarily, but everybody who shows up to work has so far been paid.
In the meantime, some work is being done near the bottom of the mine using heavy equipment – but without putting the operators at risk.
“We have remote control dozers and trucks that are going down in there," Bennett tells KUER. "We had an important access road that was destroyed on the upper benches of the mine, and even down further there was some covering of that road. So right now, those remote control vehicles are down in there. They’re pushing some dirt around. They’re doing some work so that we can make sure we’re creating a safe work environment for our folks.”
The company hopes to deliver a new load of ore from the mine in a matter of days.