About 100 employees at Kennecott Utah Copper have been laid off as a result of last month’s slide at the Bingham Canyon Mine. Kennecott spokesperson Kyle Bennett says the layoffs affected employees across the ranks of the mine’s salaried workforce. None were union employees, though he says some hourly workers will have to be let go before the end of the month.
“It’s important for us to make sure that we are a financially sustainable business moving forward, and that requires us to reduce costs rights now. Unfortunately, that also means people costs,” Bennett says. “It’s always difficult when you separate from people who have helped you achieve a lot, particularly when it impacts their families and communities. We’ve been taking a number of measures to reduce impacts moving forward, and we will continue to do that to the best of our ability.”
Kennecott has offered options for workers to take vacation, unpaid leave, and an early retirement incentive for those eligible. Bennett couldn’t say how many of the mine’s 2500 employees will be affected in total. He says the number of people who take early retirement may impact how many will be laid off. Mine officials have said the collapse on April 10th will cut in half expected ore production this year.